$68.5 million school budget vote set for Tuesday

| 12 Apr 2012 | 01:14

WEST MILFORD — Voters in West Milford go to the polls Tuesday to elect three school board members and to have their say on the $68.5 million school budget.

In short, the tax levy part of the budget is $51.7 million, up 1.76 percent over last year's tax levy and under the 2 percent cap required by the state. According to the administration, an average assessed house of $247,000 after the reassessment, will pay $4,549 in school taxes, up $38 and change from last year.

In addition, the budget is using $1.7 million in surplus to help implement a full-day kindergarten program and additional personnel.

There are no cuts in this budget, a sharp contrast to last year. Stabilized health premiums, additional state aid and conservative spending were the reasons for that, according to Interim Superintendent John Petrelli.

What the 2012-2013 budget includes

Nine full-time and nine part-time staff members have been added in this budget. They include:

Six elementary teachers for full-day kindergarten in each elementary school

One music teacher to work in the elementary schools and the high school

One physical education teacher, allowing one full-time phys ed teacher in each elementary school

One guidance counselor, shared between Macopin Middle School and the high school

Three part-time elementary Encore teachers; previously called Basic Skills teachers, three full-time positions were eliminated in 2011-2012. Only Title 1 schools maintained those positions through federal grants.

One part time resource room teacher for Maple Road School

Three part-time social workers for elementary schools; due to prior budget cuts the three positions were cut over the years;

One part-time social worker for child study in the high school

One part-time secretary for child study in the high school

The budget also includes software replacements including:

Student Information System - aligns with NJSMART; more user-friendly way for parents, teachers and administrators to communicate.

Library Management Software - would allow for shared use of library materials among the district's schools and manage textbooks at the high school.

Health and safety improvements in the budget include:

Security cameras at the high school - they will be used in addition to the current security staff.

Cabinets for home economics classroom

Two maintenance trucks that are 11 and 12 years old

The bottom line Residents may vote from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17. Polling places are listed at www.wmtps.org.

Five candidates are running for the three seats available on the school board: incumbents John Aiello and Greg Bailey, and challengers Kevin Babbitt, Inga Koeppe and Adrienne Shanler. The terms are three years. For information and statements from the candidates, go to page 2.

If the budget passes, the programs and positions listed above will be added to the district's educational program.

If the budget is defeated, it goes to the township council for review. The council may give a dollar amount that must be cut from the school budget; the school board decides where those cuts would come from.