DeCozen Sets Plan For Education Donations

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The superintendents of the Verona and Caldwell schools and leaders of the education foundations in both districts converged on Decozen Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Verona this morning to announce a partnership that could produce more grants for area teachers.

From March until May, DeCozen will donate $200 to either the Verona Foundation For Educational Excellence (VFEE) or the Caldwell/West Caldwell Education Foundation (CWCEF) when residents of Verona or the Caldwells, respectively, purchase a car at the dealership.

VFEE and the CWCEF are non-profits that provide alternative funding for school programs through grants to teachers. VFEE awarded $17,992.62 in grants this past fall, including $6,000 for a composer-in-residence program at H.B. Whitehorne that is involving all middle school students in the creation and performance of a new piece of music.

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The deal with DeCozen was spearheaded by Verona Superintendent Steven A. Forte, who has actively been selling advertising on the Verona Schools’ Web site and its weekly e-mails to parents to raise funds for education that do not raise property taxes. Since 2010, New Jersey law has capped property tax increases at 2% a year.

Forte has already sold ads to the New York YankeesCamps, Advanced Smiles Dentistry, Chyten Tutoring, Salugo Bistro and Kings Supermarkets. The school Web site also credits DeCozen and Investors Savings Bank as sponsors. At the February 12 BOE meeting, Forte said that he has inked $16,000 in contracts for advertising, and $4,000 in rental revenue from the Yankees. Because the ads are now routed through an agency, Verona now keeps only 70% of what it sells.

The superintendent said today that his goal is to raise $45,000 in outside revenue, largely through ads on the so-called Friday Folder e-mails. At the last Board of Education meeting, BOE President John Quattrocchi noted that the board must cut roughly $700,000 from the 2013-2014 budget to stay within the cap.

Mary Ann Campion, vice chairman, Caldwell/West Caldwell Education Foundation; Dr. James Heinegg, superintendent, Caldwell-West Caldwell School District; Michael Cerino, CEO, Decozen Chrysler Jeep Dodge; Steven A. Forte, superintendent, Verona School District; Douglas Smith, chairperson, Verona Foundation For Educational Excellence.
Mary Ann Campion, vice chairman, Caldwell/West Caldwell Education Foundation; Dr. James Heinegg, superintendent, Caldwell-West Caldwell School District; Michael Cerino, CEO, Decozen Chrysler Jeep Dodge; Steven A. Forte, superintendent, Verona School District; Douglas Smith, chairperson, Verona Foundation For Educational Excellence.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

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