Friday, May 11, 2007

Defeat of budget leaves Jefferson School’s in a sore spot

With almost every blue seat occupied, the April 30th school board meeting last night at the Jefferson Middle School library was a bit more packed than last they met to discuss the budget. But the reveal the school board had to give wasn’t as auspicious as they had hoped it would be, as the budget, for the second year in a row, didn’t pass.

“It’s just a disappointment that our budget was rejected,” said Louis Cerny from behind the table he had been sitting at with the other board members, “It’s important that we get the funding that we need.”

With 859 votes yes, and 974 votes no, this is a tough defeat for the board, which had high hopes for the $1.4 million they had hoped to gain if the bill had passed, such as more advanced placement courses, more teachers, and more money allotted to the athletic department. Many members stressed just how important it is for these kinds of bills to get passed if parents want what’s best for their kids at the school.

“It’s important that we get the money because if we don’t, we’ll never, ever see it again,” said Judy Castiglione, who was speaking about how the current A-1 law that was passed by Governor Corzine, makes it so any cuts in funding can never be recovered.

But all hope is not lost for the bill, as it now rests in the hands of others who might decide to keep some of the improvements that were not voted in.

“When the budget is defeated, it goes to the town council,” said Bob Feldmann, who doesn’t think every thing they worked for will go in vain. “They [the town council] decide how much should be cut. It could be left the way it is.”

One of the reasons the bill might not have passed, though, was the tax boost Jefferson residents were set to see if everything turned out in the Board of Ed’s favor. For residents with a house assessed at the average value of $368,700, they would have seen a $182 annual tax boost, which would have equaled $15.06 a month. This excluded municipal and county taxes.

Whether the results of the votes were good or bad, at least the board finally had the bodies in the seats to hear the determined future of both the budget and the children who attend the schools.

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