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BOE Spells Out School Budget Cuts

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H.B. Whitehorne Middle School
H.B. Whitehorne Middle School

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, board members spelled out a list of items that will likely be cut from the 2010-2011 school budget. The board needs to present a preliminary budget for public comment at next Tuesday’s board meeting; a final budget must be submitted to the state by March 30.

Though districts won’t know exactly how much state aid they’ll receive for the 2010-2011 school year for a couple of days, officials referred to the “ominous” tone of Governor Chris Christie’s budget address yesterday and are anticipating a reduction in Verona’s $26 million budget of between 3 percent and 8 percent.  Gov. Christie’s  recommendation that all public sector budgets be capped at 2.5% with no possibility of waivers most likely does not apply to this year, they said.

“We are not eliminating any programs,” said Superintendent Charles Sampson. “We have identified areas where we can reduce spending without unduly harming instruction to our students.” He said the voluntary retirement of several long-time teachers will lessen the need for staff reductions.

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These are the areas where the board anticipates making reductions, in order of priority:

  1. Special Education Aides: The county has determined the Verona district to be inefficient in its use of aides.
  2. Instructional Aides
  3. Utilities. Because of a positive balance on the energy side of the ledger this year, board members are hedging their bets on a reduction this year.
  4. Postage.
  5. Supplemental Student Accident Insurance.
  6. Tech Supplies.
  7. Restructuring of the Gifted and Talented Program. The supervisor of the gifted and talented program will be placed in the classroom full-time with a coordinator title.
  8. Administrative Restructuring. The positions of area coordinator in math and the humanities, and their accompanying stipends, will be eliminated throughout the district
  9. VHS Media Center Upgrade
  10. Textbooks and school supplies.
  11. Worker’s Compensation and property insurance.
  12. Restructuring of the secretarial staff.

These cuts would amount to $812,000. If more are needed the board will likely ask for a waiver from the state. “We are much better off than many of our neighbors,” said Sampson.

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Julia Martin Langan
Julia Martin Langanhttps://myveronanj.com
Julia Martin Langan moved to Verona in 1989. A long-time journalist, she has been on the staff of Money, Sports Illustrated, Bride’s and Redbook magazines. Her articles on health and parenting appear in a variety of national publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Parents, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Self and Family Circle. She and her husband Greg have three school-aged children, and are members of Our Lady of the Lake Church. You can reach Julia at [email protected]

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