BOE Approves Budget After Bringing Down Tax Levy By 2.8 Million

The BOE voted late Thursday night on a final budget that included a $500,000 dollar increase in the tax levy, down from a proposed $3.3 million dollar increase. But board members say the reduction came out of the hard work of one man. “Chesky Seitler, named as Budget Committee chairman only three weeks ago, worked tirelessly to understand the budget and to determine exactly why such a large increase was needed”, a board member said.

Seitler determined that the budget called for $2.8 million dollars in raises for the Union teachers, that would pay for the past two years of raises. What Seitler proposed, was that the Union contract be negotiated starting now, and the years past be considered a zero raise.

“The idea of forcing the taxpayers to pay all 3 years worth of raises in one year was too much to bear”, Seitler says.

The Union raise was included, but only for this year not the past two years.

“The result was a budget that kept all educational areas intact and only reduced the pay raise to the unions”, Seitler tells TLS. “Over the last three years, we have not laid off teachers.” “While the private sector has been going through the worst recession in decades, the Lakewood teachers did not experience any layoffs. Yet they were still demanding retroactive raises”, Seitler says. “The taxpayers who have to pay these raises are all too happy if they have a job, and it is unfair to ask them to pay for such a huge raise in one shot.”

Seitler added, “The union has not accepted the Board’s position, however the budget now does not have the funds needed for their demands.” “Their choice is either to accept the new terms, or continue without a contract.”

Board members and LAC members say they were pleasantly surprised with the results.

“While many were skeptical that Seitler would be able to reduce the budget on such a magnitude in only three weeks, he has proven once again that with determination and work, it can be done”, a member of the LAC said to TLS. “This seems to be a repeat of 2010, when Seitler promised a zero dollar increase in the face of a proposed $8 million dollar increase.” “With only three weeks to work with, he produced a zero increase budget in time.”

But Seitler doesn’t take all the credit for the job.

“I could not have done without the support of my fellow Board members, especially Yoni Silver and others, as well as the support I got over the last few weeks from people in the community who were upset at the proposed increase”, Seitler said. “Without the community voicing their displeasure, it could never have been done” said Seitler.

Board member Yisroel Friedman tells TLS he too was pleased with the outcome of the budget.

“I want to congratulate the Finance Committee Chairmen Chesky Seitler and Committee members Zecharia Greenspan and Meir Grunhut for working tirelessly through the night to come up with a budget that not only keeps all the children both public and private best interests in mind, but is also fiscally responsible to the hard working taxpayer.”

Voting to approve the budget, were Seitler, Silver, Greenspan, Friedman, Grunhut and Zlatkin. Tift and Fink voted against it. Irene Miccio is disqualified from voting on the budget being that she has a family member in the district, a board member said. TLS.

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  1. Thank you! this is truly nice to see that the taxpayer finally has a voice. For years the unions walked away with raises and raises, while we were crushed under the tax burden. Now for three years in a row we have had no increase. For those who dont realize, the current tax levy is still lower than it was when these guys came in back in 2010. Last year there was a 1.5 million decrease and this year there is only a 500,000 increase so we are still 1 million ahead!

  2. I cant help but notice since these LAC guys came around every gov. body in Lakewood realizes the need to preserve the tax payers money

  3. So the public schools for which the BOE exists, their teachers go without a raise but the transportation budget which mostly benefits private schools is bolstered.

  4. Brilliant work, Chesky. We taxpayers owe you a debt of gratitude. We know you overcame stiff opposition from the district administration and (moderated) who were pushing for the full $3.3 Million increase. Your, and Yoni Silver’s leadership saved the budget this year, once again. We thank the other members who voted with you for doing the right thing and following your lead.

  5. The levy was brought down by 1.4 million, approximately 2.8% of the budget…not decreased by 2.8 million. Once again, Seitler has proven to everyone that teachers do not matter. What happened to negotiating in good faith? Karma is like a rubber band, eventually it comes back to smack you in the face.

  6. You should have had the new contract in place 3 years ago. Now you cheat the teachers out of the raise they would have had IF you had a contract. And maybe you didn’t lay off teachers, that’s because they QUIT!! You owe them the raise, because YOUR refusal to deal with the contract.

  7. to tell the union we do not have the money, we just chose not to include it because your union. That is considered union busting which is a federal crime and i sure hope the National labor relations board finds outs. The fines are tremendous and when the union files an unfair labor practice. the inspectors come in and look at more than just the contract.

    Oh i know you are used to federal goverment questioning all of theses illegal practices just because you said it was ok.

  8. It ia amazing how slanted is this article. The fact is the boe budget is going up. The boe members were elected saying that they would reduce the budget not allow it to increase. Where are the tax savings they promised us? Our taxes will once again go higher while our elected officials pat themselves on their back for not keeping their promises. How could a 500k increase be viewed as a positive?

  9. This really makes me question the qualification of the entire BOE. This is presented as an earth-shattering find, a pay increase to cover 3 years… anyone who has ever read a budget can see a pay increase.. and you mean to tell me that not one board member knew this existed until this unbelievable find by Chesky Seitler? What is the board doing?

  10. How much does the school district pay a year toi feed all the failing schools?

    Why isn’t the entire budget posted online here?

  11. this is all BALONEY in a time of a depressed economy people dont get raises ,they sometimes get a reduction in salary ,unless you are working for the government because all they do is raise the price of my property taxes whether i want to or not……THERE should be no more increase in taxes for anyone working for the public …PERIOD….if you dont like it go out and find another job….I am all for education but i dont want to pay for it ….

  12. I am writing as citizen, taxpayer of Lakewood. It should not be construed as legal advise or as part of a “public employee’s professional responsibilities . . . [but] liberties the employee might have enjoyed as a private citizen.” (Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410, 421-22).

    The federal NLRA does not apply to public employees. NJ Public employees negotiations are regulated by state law.

    N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:29-4.1 (Lexis 2012) says:

    “Every school budget adopted . . . shall contain such amounts as may be necessary to fully implement such policy and schedules for that budget year.”

    The NJ Supreme Court explained that the statute “was designed to prevent local boards from using the budget process to avoid salary schedules they had already agreed to in collective-bargaining negotiations.” Bd. of Educ. v. Neptune Twp. Educ. Ass’n, 144 N.J. 16, 27 (N.J. 1996)

    Does good faith bargaining mandate appropriation to make a future agreement possible?

    Given that the statute:

    1) “prohibits school boards from paying increments pursuant to expired three year contracts.” Id at 29; and

    2) “the Legislature intended to allow schools to properly manage their budgets in conformance with the New Jersey Constitution and current economic realities,” Id. at 28-29

    the answer to the question is “no.”

  13. so the teachers got cheated out of wage increases because the here was no contract for two years , stop cheating those who are dedicated to educating the children in the public schools in this town and go after the real waste of money that is never even discussed !!

  14. to 18 so the taxpayers should get cheatyed out by the unions? Unions are killing this great country! Why are all the jobs in China? ecause unions made it unprofitable to hire usa…Uniions are bankrupting this state and country that ius why are governor has rallied against the teachers union.

  15. yes increasing taxes is not a popular choice. I being a taxpaying Lakewood citizen, do not wish to see this happen. However, no one seems to realize that the students of this district deserve a fair and equitable education. Without it, we will see many more kids on the street. We are all aware of the issues that this causes. The teaching staff dedicates themselves to the needs of our future leaders. As with us, we had the opportunity to witness strong leadership and learn appropriate and successful ways of communicating, so should these young people. They say do unto others what you want done to you. We want others to be fair with us, we have to be fair to others.

  16. I have to add that when started teaching in Lakewood High School (LHS) nine years ago, after teaching in private schools for seven years, I was impressed with the standards and professionalism of LHS teachers.

    They are authentic veterans of instruction under the state curriculum, sworn or affirmed to uphold the Constitution of the United States, disciplined by their profession and our nation’s schools of education, and accountable to the State of New Jersey. Chalevei that our own kids had English teacher like those in LHS.

    LHS still has the strongest twenty-first century workforce in town. The district is the largest employer in town and the high school attracts people with degrees in engineering, mathematics, physics, computers, or anything else desired.

    One day, LHS will again be an attractive place to work as all the people of Lakewood will be stakeholders in our success.

    The day will come when former teachers, current teachers after school, and our students will utilize our connection to the citizens of Lakewood and provide them with cutting edge technology, professional and vocational education, and a workforce that will make Lakewood businesses and employers internationally competitive.

    This renaissance of LHS will enhance morale and achievement as we all come together with a common purpose.

  17. to “to 18 so the taxpayers should get cheatyed out by the unions? Unions are killing this great country! Why are all the jobs in China? ecause unions made it unprofitable to hire usa…Uniions are bankrupting this state and country that ius why are governor has rallied against the teachers union:”
    Wow, calm down , what is bankrupting this country is the federal government ~ the problem is multi faceted,hte unions alone are not the whole issue . Why is it so popular to bash unions who are there to protect the rights of the workers and ensure they get a fair shake when it comes to wages and benifits. The workers in this country made it what it is ,yes I agree there are some situatons were unions are on the wrong side of the issues,however asking for a contract after two yaers of a stalemate is not acceptable . You need to take the blinders off and look at both sides . What has taken place here in Lakewood with the public school is an abomination ,I have often wondered why any teacher would tolertate the way this BOE treats them and the only conclussion that I come to is their students and dedication come first at the expense of being dissed by this BOE

  18. To number 21: We spend a fortune in taxes and our schools are failing. More money down a black hole does not help the problem. We need lower taxes- NOT a 500k increase.

  19. to #27 i am well aware of the educational status of the public schools. a reason exists for everything. However, prior to stating pouring money down a black hole, gather your facts. Are you aware of the basis for the label of “failing district”? Are you informed as to the actions of the teaching staff? Are you certain that the test scores truly reflect the scholastic achievement of the student body? If not, try to gather more information and maybe suggest ways to improve the situation. We need solutions, not complaints. Any idea will be acknowledged and considered. May we find a winning solution very soon.

  20. Irene Miccio is disqualified from voting on the budget being that she has a family member in the district, a board member said. TLS.
    that makes no sense!!!!!!!!!!
    the way I see that is all the more reason she has a right to vote!!!

  21. I would like to have an outside source check Ms. Miccios’s voting record. When her vote is needed she votes, when not she is advised not too.

  22. Mr. Seitler did a fanastic job as usual. The other members of the budget not finance committee should have questioned the so called final budget as Mr. Seitler did.
    Here is my reasoning:
    On March 3rd at 4:53 pm we all received an email from the board’s attorney with a subject of : Bbudget presentation final.
    This in my opinion should have come from the BA, not the boards attorney.
    Immediatley thereafter, the budget committee chairmen Mr. Seitler issued an email that quotes, For the upteenth time- The general funds does not include the roof, that is in debt service. I must have said this 100 times. Please remove it as it is intentionally misleading the public.
    At this point I was wondering why the other two members of the budget committee did not comment especially the board president. At this point I decided to review the whole budget rather then vote on something that just might have additonal items that were misrepresented to the public. Having had two days to review and re-review the entire budget I would have voted yes instead of no.
    To Mr. Freidmans comments of a finance committee, the first thing Mr. Grunhut did when he bacame president was disolve the finance committee. The reasoning for this still baffles me.

  23. Hey #27 : The problem is, in Lakewood the school budget passing, at any amount, does not = the money getting to where it should. The PUBLIC schools.

  24. connecting the raise issue to the students education is wrong. I am a math teacher for a private school and I havnt gotten a raise in years. yet i still give it all i got because thats my job and im happy to keep it. if this no-raise unmotivates teachers it is they who are to blame and not the taxpayers.

  25. We give our all too ! But with alot fewer resources and in delapidated buildings. Not brand new palatial facilities and any resource we need just handed to us. Come work under these conditions while maintaining the same caring and professionalism like we do without fail!!

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