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Proposed School Budget Will Cost Taxpayers $20 More Per Month

The proposed 2012-13 budget “a living document” that is subject to change

 

Bloomfield homeowners will have to pay an average of $20 extra a month in taxes for funding of the town’s schools if the proposed budget is approved, according to Superintendent Jason Bing.

The proposal, which was approved on March 27, also assumes that a number of teaching positions will be cut, he said.

At a public hearing on the budget at the BOE meeting, Bing presented “a living document” of the 2012-13 budget, while at the same time delivering an optimistic overview of the school district for the parents in attendance at Oakview School.

The budget summary was as follows:

General Fund:  $83,366,526

Special Fund: $2,543,826

Debt Service:  $4,193,165

Total:  $90,103,517

 

Based on this budget, homeowners with an average assessment of $280,300 will have to pay $244.17 more in taxes, or about $20 more per household per month, Bing explained.

He noted the proposed budget was a working document that was subject to change.  He invited anyone who wanted to discuss or suggest changes to the budget to contact his office and set up an appointment to meet with him.

“This is my first budget for the Bloomfield school district,” he noted.  “It’s a work in progress until the ballots are printed in mid-April.  If you see things that work in other districts, I urge you to get in touch with my office or [School Business Administrator] Mr. [Michael] Derderian’s office and let us know.”

 

Jason Bing

super@bloomfield.k12.nj.us

973-680-8500

 

Michael Derderian

973.680.8501 x2023

 

In addition to the increase in taxes for residents, Bing said a number foreign language positions and one “AT,” or Academically Talented, teacher position at the elementary school level would be cut.  The high school AT teacher position would not be cut.

Two parents and four children came forward to protest the cuts. 

“That’s an incredibly poor message you’re giving [the AT students], saying academic excellence is not a priority,” parent Laura Heyman said angrily. “When I was a kid they sat the AT kids in the back of the classroom or used them as assistant teachers.  Academically talented students deserve the opportunity to learn.  This scares the hell out of me.”

Later in the meeting BOE President Mary Shaughnessy assured attendees that “I don’t take any pleasure in asking for an increase [in taxes] but it takes a lot of money to run a school.” 

She added, “Bloomfield is second from the bottom in terms of salary and benefits for teachers and total student spending in school districts of similar size,” she said. “I am not proud of that.”

Both Shaughnessy and Bing noted that the Bloomfield school district has been underfunded for three consecutive years by the state government.  Shaughnessy said that she has lobbied in Trenton, as recently as this month, to fight for the reimbursement of Bloomfield’s allocated funds.  She also said she has written

“I beg you to write,” said Bing emphatically to the parents at the meeting.  “We have been underfunded by $16 million over the past three years.  If that’s not enough impetus to write to your local representative, I don’t know what is.”

Bing said that the state of New Jersey has not provided resources to fund mandated programs, such as the Anti-Bullying Act, despite the fact that all schools were required to implement them. 

“The harassment/intimidation/bullying law is a good example,” said Bing.  “It has cost districts between $10,000 and $40,000.  In New Jersey, about 85% of the budget is dictated by the state.”

Though last year's budget had a 0% increase, Derderian pointed out that "the majority of state aid went for tax relief.  That puts us in a vulnerable position this year."

When it came time for the vote, seven board members present voted yes to the proposed budget.  Joe Lopez voted no.  Robert De Marino was absent.

The school budget will be presented at next week's township council meeting, Monday April 2 at 7:00 pm.

G. Lombardi April 03, 2012 at 03:35 PM
A. Harrison and Mr. Mock's points about the need for helping Bloomfield's Schools close the tiny budget cap is well taken. This Town will thrive or dive based upon our children and their success in the world. The slight increase is about 66 cents per day. I can't think of anything in this world that has only risen by 66 cents per day, nor anything more worthwhile than our children's future and in the long run Bloomfield's future. Perhaps rather than bemoan the cents it would make more sense to contact our elected officials for District 28, Sen. Rice, Assw. Tucker, Assm. Caputo along with Gov. Christie and demand the $16 million back that was mandated for our Town? If we had those purloined funds, the schools could be made whole and everyone can have their 66 cents back and go hog wild with it! The crime here is the theft of those millions, not the hardworking personnel of the Bloomfield Schools District scraping for every penny they can save. We're all in this together. 40,000 or so, voters can make a lot of noise
john g chipko April 03, 2012 at 03:44 PM
your statement is not true. the $20 per month is based upon a value of approximately $200.00 value, what about homes above that value. the $.66 a day comment is a copout as every year we hear the same thing. the schools needs to do more with less like the rest of us.you mentioned the hard working personnel of the school district , how about the hardworking taxpayors who have to pay the taxes to pay those personnel?
john g chipko April 03, 2012 at 03:44 PM
sorry it's $200,000 value. there are a lot of homes valued more than that
G. Lombardi April 03, 2012 at 04:36 PM
I am one of those taxpayers Mr. Chipko and our taxes are over $11,000 per year, for the moment. Like yourself, I have no desire nor a fat wallet to pay any more. But I think the argument that will yield greater results is to uncover what happened to the over $16 million the State of New Jersey allotted to Bloomfield Schools. While I loathe to pay taxes, I loathe politicians robbing our children of their education and our Town of viable future a lot more. You can't have the second lowest expenditure per pupil in the State and lowest starting pay for the teachers, with little room for in District career advancement, zero health benefits for school paraprofessionals and aides and expect to magically whip out a great school system. Schools are at or beyond maximum capacity now and are so overcrowded that some of our kids must attend classes in FEMA-like housing trailers. Their official term is "Learning Cottages." Bloomfield schools are now, (not a few years down the line) currently in a crisis in terms of infrastructure. Mr. Bing, the Principals, administrators, teachers and all staff are involved in a massive juggling of updating curriculum, finding space for classes, training staff, scouring for funding, consolidating services and everything else under the sun to attempt to make our schools work. The crisis is real. The crisis is now. We need the millions in school funding that was robbed from Bloomfield.
john g chipko April 03, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Every year there's a crisis and every year we the taxpayors get robbed. Maybe we should ask the federal government why we spend billions for Solar companies that are known to go bad, but we leave our education system, the children holding out their hands. Maybe if we didn't provide pensions where little if no contributions are required ,we might have more money for what the children need. it,s time for charter schools be given a chance to teach, and not worry about poltical motivations.we spend millions in the Newark school district and yet we have children gtraduating with limited skills and below par educationsal skills. Your commets make it seem that the bloomfield teachers are being paid minimum wage and you know that's not the case. The bottom line is our school boards need to run the educational system like they would run a business and cut out waste and non effecetive personnel.

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