In Long And Heated Meeting, BOE Passes Zero Percent Increase, Cuts Jobs

boe meeting first with new members 4-26-10Last night saw one of the longest and most contentious BOE meetings in the last 10 years. The room was packed with standing room only, with people from all different segments in town, who came to fight for a budget increase. Yet the new board members, together with Yoni Silver and Meir Grunhut, held their own. The meeting went until 12:05 a.m, but in the end the taxpayers won. The Lakewood Board of Education, for the first time in recent history, passed a Zero Increase Budget. “It was an enormous Kiddush Hashem to see the members get together to do what is not only right for Lakewood, but long overdue” said BOE member Chesky Seitler

The budget that was passed included the reccomended cuts from the Township, which were; $4 million in salary and health benefits savings, $825,000 from Tuition costs, and the remaining cuts coming from overhead costs and surplus. Totaling close to $8 million dollars.

Approximately 60 paraprofessionals, including teachers aides-will be replaced, according to a Board vote, because they do not meet new state standards. However, according to board attorney Michael Inzelbuch, they will be rehired should they pass an upcoming State test.

The revised budget will now go to the Township for approval.

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75 COMMENTS

  1. everybody always said impossible. if u have nigius it becomes imoossible. the yiden said they cant fight eretz yisroel by the miraglim. they said impossible. and chazal say diffrent reasons of nigius. like they wii loose their nisius in eretz yisroel etc.

  2. #5 u r a hundred percent right. They say we cant change this and this we cant change. And they say we dont understand how it works. Always another cheshbon. And if you do research you will see there is a cheshbon with nigius.

  3. they didn’t cut the busing, just the paras, nice job. i guess we know who the paras will be replaced by! One more power grab!

  4. Bait & Switch. The trio of new members campaigned on a carefully worded zero DOLLAR increase and delivered a zero PERCENT increase. With the ever dwindling public school population and the ever expanding tax base, there’s really no excuse not to have delivered upon their promise. This is a hollow victory.

  5. They didnt cut the paras , the state mandates a test because of school wide..If they pass they wont lose their jobs..By the way why doesnt the scoop[ post which board members fought tooth and nail for a budget increase

  6. i find it very disconcerting that there are so many people on the board that dont lose anything if education services are cut. Orthodox dont sent their children to public schools so they dont care if jobs are cut or programs cut. Believe it or not, there are non jews living in lakewood too that are taxpaying, school sending

  7. These “cuts” are an illusion. Cutting surplus is a one time move. Additionally, many of the papraprofessionals will recertify and be rehired, dwindling the surplus even more (since they have been removed from the budget). Since the surplus is state mandated, it will have to be replentished next year. This is an unsustainable budget and will likely lead to tax increases next year.

  8. The public school students are not dwindling…And you sure dont know what you are talking about if you can say “HOLLOW VICTORY” The forces against 0 budgets are alot more than you can handle guaranteed!!!!

  9. Can we get over the bussing already! They all pay prop. Taxes just like us and save us 10s of mil. By going to private school. Can they at least get some bussing for their tax dollars? Don’t forget public school children need bussing too. They just came and joined with members of other communities and did something that hasn’t been done as long a anyone here can remeber and all we do is complain. Unless you don’t pay taxes here…that would explain your comment.

  10. Look no one seems to understand that the public school system filters the funds. With public school funds cut, then the private school lose as well. We are all G-d’s children. He wants us to get along. If the public school system fails, then they will end up in the jail system. If you think it’s expensive, now, then you better brace yourself. These kids do deserve the privilege to an education. I am seen manyof them turn their lives around and go to college or further their education.

  11. One of the board members actually said that the proposed tax increase was not actually an increase because it was less of an increase than last year !!!!!

  12. The paras were not cut from the budget the plan is to keep paras either the. present ones or if they fail the test than to here different ones.

  13. To Non Jew,
    No they did not cut bussing. They did not hurt children. Public or nonpublic.
    To Very Frum,
    To the chachomim who said we have too many frum on the Board, and should hide behind the nonJews’ backs, do you see now how much you can count on others?

  14. I don’t understand the people complaining about aids being certified. If they can’t pass the test then it means its not the best education your child is receiving. Wouldn’t you want the best certified teachers and aids.

    Ihave been in the middle school in lakewood and I have visited hundreds of nj schools. It takes me about 1-2 minutes to see if a school is operating in a positive manner. The middle school got a new principal a few years ago and she don’t take any garbage from any of her staff. Even the old ones who did not like that she was an outsider coming in. From my own opinion she should have cleaned house of some of the top staff and brought in top new certified enthuastic people. If the staff is excited and certified
    to teach then the students may
    want to learn and be educated.

    Schools are made to excite and educate. If we can accomplish this goal we will see a future lakewood of young educated people and a significant drop in gangs and crime. Education is key. But money is not always the answer. Its quality and attitude.

  15. Look everyone, we all want a good education for our kids, we want everyone to be succesful, and productive members of society, However let’s look at the record of the Lakewood Public Schools. We spend on average 16,500.00 per kid in the public schools and what do we have to show for it? Nada for the most part. Where are those kids graduating, starting new businesses, becoming community leaders , lawyers , doctors , anything ???Our grades are the lowest in the state . Let’s give any taxpayer who attends public school and send him to private with an 8000 dollar credit . We’ll save lots of Mula Schmula and have better results, because its very clear to me that the Public School System is a failed one .

  16. The board members do not represent public school students or private school students they represent the voters . We live in a democracy. Elections have consequences . The newly elected board members did not hide their intentions. They ran on a platform and actually acted on it.

  17. To: Coventry

    well said.

    In all fairness, if we don’t send our children to public schools, we shouldn’t have to pay property taxes for your children. Yet we do it anyway, because that is the law. Right?

    So the law also says that we can vote, and that we can be elected to the school board, and make decisions about what is done with our taxes that we work so hard to pay.

    If it’s not fair that we decide how the money is spent, it is also not fair that we should have to pay for your child’s education. If the law says that we must pay for your child’s education, the law says that we can decide how the money is spent.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  18. “It was an enormous Kiddush Hashem to see the members get together to do what is not only right for Lakewood, but long overdue” said BOE member Chesky Seitler

    Really?Do you really thing that this is an enormous Kiddish Hashem?Do you sincerely think this budget will cause the ‘brios’ to say ‘kama noah maasov’ and ‘asrei me s’lomad Torah’about us?

  19. If I were a public school parent, I would write the following comment.
    Look, thousands of families are paying thousands of dollars for public schools and only get bussing for their children. I know that orthodox jews will only educate their children in an orthodox environment, so I can’t just say that they should choose public schools. I have tremendous appreciation for their paying high property taxes.
    Our schools must make a very serious effort to not raise the budget.
    And thank–you for helping to give ALL of Lakewood’s children a good education.

  20. We can only envy the Zechus that these selfless individuals are acquiring.To be able to help out thousands of yidden in such a substantial way is not simple at all. We should all try to emulate them, as the fundemental of yiddishkeit is all about how to help out another Yid.

  21. Thank you, to all those that voted for the 0 % increase, please keep up the good work and hopefully next year we can see further sensible and well balanced cuts.
    perhaps we can negotiate salary cuts like we successfully did with the EMS.

    In these financial challenging times all government salaries, and befits should be in proportion to the same jobs in the private sector.

  22. I would understand the concern if the cuts directly impacted the education of the kids in public school, but look what they cut:

    “The budget that was passed included the reccomended cuts from the Township, which were; $4 million in salary and health benefits savings, $825,000 from Tuition costs, and the remaining cuts coming from overhead costs and surplus. Totaling close to $8 million dollars.”

    Most Americans have to contribute towards their health and other benefits. Despite the fact that we are in a recession, the teacher’s union has made no cuts to their budgets and benefits. They have way above and beyond “normal” privaleges that most of us could only dream about! This would only be putting things on a more even kilt and at the same time save us $8 MILLION dollars! We’ve all needed to learn how to get by with less, and that should include the teachers union.

  23. BOTTOM LINE!!!!

    What will be the tax rate for 2010 in lakewood?

    Last year was 1.798 per $100 assessed.

    Any idea what it will be for this year with the lowered assessments??????

  24. Let me turn that around.

    I realise that the american public is helping support me and my large family in Kollel via various entitlement programs (ex.HUD, Food Stamps, earned income credit, lunch programs subsidised health ins etc….) even though alot of them are not even jewish.

    Thank you so much.

  25. To: #42

    Right on.

    By the way, California, the second most liberal state in the Union, (after massachussetts which voted for Scott Brown) is now thinking of cutting out welfare programs entirely, because the state simply has no more money.

    Of course, the Democrats are trying to stop the cuts, delusional that they are. They would rather raise taxes on the most taxed state in the Union.

    My fellow brothers and sisters. The blank checks from Uncle Sam will soon run dry. Look at Greece. The current attitude of tax and spend is unsustainable. It will come to an end, and whoever relies on it will be shell shocked.

    Start becoming self sufficient as soon as you can.

  26. Well mr seitler and all the new 3

    I was there last night together with HH who came down only 2 see what he is getting into not like the mayor who never ever went to the lakewood public schools

    How can mr thomas be the boe did u see the way he acted last night??

    Well last week they voted on re appointing michael as board attorney only 5 voted for him and 4 didn’t can you explain why all 9 voted he should stay board attorney?????

    It was no kiddush hashem so sorry

  27. to all those complaining about frum ladies losing their jobs. Since when is the public responsible to support frum ladies. If they find themselves out of a job they should hone their skills or find a different profession. Its my money they do not have a right to have it.

  28. to # 18
    “One of the board members actually said that the proposed tax increase was not actually an increase because it was less of an increase than last year !!!!!”

    The Liberals in D.C. have using that same lie for generations.
    if you don’t increase your spending according the expected increase, then thats a “cut”, how about them apples!

  29. There was 800,000 dollars cut from the tuition budget. All the institutions that have been o overcharging the boe for tuition (day care centers , special ed schools) should consider themselves warned. Shape up or you will lose your contracts.

  30. To #40 Taxpayer and other inquiring minds… taxes WILL NOT go down, lowered assessments or not. Still need to add more non-public school buses to criss cross through town all day and night basically for boys since girls may or may not have a school to go to, still need to build more affordable housing for those relocating here even though they know beforehand there is no housing and while some current residents who fell on hard times are living in the woods aka “tent city” and more current taxable properties are turned into non-taxable properties. Let me repeat taxes will not go down

  31. #32 Your comment is really funny.When me and my husand pay for your wefare,food stamps,wic,hud and the list goes on.And us hard working tax payers children have to pay the price.

  32. Though people are upset that budget wasn’t reduced – we still have to hand it to the 4 board members who stood up for the interests of the Tzibur. CHANGE IS IN THE AIR – GO HERSCHEL GO.

  33. Three cheers for Board President Leonard Thomas. Mr. Thomas knows and understands the needs of the
    Lakewood public school students and parents.
    If the other Board members don’t understand what they are voting on, shouldn’t they give themselves more time before they vote?
    I guess they realized that since they wouldn’t give 62 paraprofessionals more time to prepare for a career making test why should they give themselves more time before they vote…….

  34. OK whats wrong with this picture??? where are the cuts being made ??? There are so many other areas that are not even mentioned ~~can anyone say COURTYESY BUSING??? Many other towns charge for this service if parents feel the need to have non required busing for their children . Lakewood can no longer ignore the fact that with the situation that exists this needs to be on the plate too . For those who are going to howl “What do we get for our money” your choice not to send your children to public school and how about all the senoirs who have no children in school the same rules must apply to all so anyone with no children in school should also see some kind of benifit sorry it doesn’t work that way if you want something over and above what is deemed essential then YOU pay for it and not put the burden on all the other taxpayers……

  35. I AM A PARA IN HOWELL. WE ALSO WILL BE GETTING THE “PINK SLIPS” THIS WEEK (ALL OF US). IT IS FUNNY HOW THESE BOARD OF ED’S CONTINUE TO PICK ON THE GROUPS THAT MAKE THE LEAST. WE HAVE NOT HEARD OF ONE BOARD OFFICE LAY OFF. IT SEEMS THAT ALL THE CUSHY JOBS UP AT THE TOP ARE ALWAYS THE SAFEST BUT COME WITH THE BIGGEST PAYCHECKS. I DO NOT KNOW WHY THE PUBLIC ISNT OUTRAGED BY THIS. THEY KEEP PICKING ON THE TEACHERS, THE ONES THAT ACTUALLY TEACH YOUR CHILDREN. START LAYING OFF WHERE IT COUNTS. START AT THE TOP, BECAUSE IT IS USUALLY THE TOP THAT CAUSES THE MESSES THAT WE ARE NOW IN. AS FAR AS LAKEWOOD IS CONCERNED, I AGREE THAT THE STATE NEEDS TO STEP IN. THEY KEEP CHIPPING AWAY AT THEIR BUDGET AND THEN THEY WONDER WHY THEIR TEST SCORES ARE LOW. THE TEACHERS IN LAKEWOOD ARE PROBABLEY THE MOST DEDICATED BECAUSE THEY ARE CONSTANTLY ASKED TO DO MORE WITH LESS. I THINK EVERYONE IN LAKEWOOD SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO CARRY THE TAX BURDEN AND NOT BE ABLE TO HIDE BEHIND THEIR RELIGION.

  36. while we all feel that education is VERY important ….I DONT want to pay for it….that is what democracy is all about while we pay taxes we should have a say how our money is being spent ….I hope next year to still cut a lot more off the school budget including all busing.(yes my kids go on buses) but in a few years it will end and my house will not be bleeding me dry……..

  37. I pay taxs and have no child in school , would like to know where all the money goes to I hear there are ony 5,000 childern in public school, where is all this money going, if an one knows???

  38. Look everyone, tax payers should have a say in how money is spent. Yes, we are top heavy and losing some of the upper levels would correct some money issues. To one of the comments, the Lakewood teachers are extremely dedicated to the needs of our future leaders. Just look as see how early they arrive and how late they stay. Even drive by on the weekends and you’ll see administrators there. Just take a look at any classroom in the Lakewood Public Schools. You will be amazed. I should know because I am a teacher there and I am a frum yid. I am proud of my yiddishkeit and the job that colleagues and I do. By the way, we have the lowest salary and the most steps in the state. Let us pray for a peaceful resolution.

  39. 57, the lowest on the totem pole always gets cut because they have the quietest voice (fact). Seniors do not pay property taxes like everyone else – it’s a lie, they pay the tax and then get reimbursed for about half, last year with the homestead rebate they most received more than they paid. When someone has a significant tax burden for a modest home they have a right to feel outraged. The most expensive private schools in the US charge around $20,000.00 a year for service, they include services, aides, cleaning crews, extracurricular activities you can only dream about. Their test scores are higher, the children brighter and more likely to succeed. Their has been a lot of inroads for charter schools to replace public schools and the few states that have run pilots have been successful, what has not been successful has been the unions that make money by convincing others that only they can be responsible for the rights of teachers, janitors, etc., in reality they caused raised wages across the boards to pay themselves and taxed us, the people to death. Walmart is union free, they offer health, pension and retirement plans to their workers, without a middleman taking a profit. Know where our money is going.

  40. you said

    “EVERYONE IN LAKEWOOD SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO CARRY THE TAX BURDEN AND NOT BE ABLE TO HIDE BEHIND THEIR RELIGION…”

    So are you saying that the $8700 in taxes i paid last year is no burden?

    We are carrying the tax burden regardless of religion ,

    just dont overburden us and increase our burden

  41. youre missing the point. if there was a fire in your house and fireman a was using water to put it out but the fire kept growing so he added more water etc.now fireman b tells him “dummy water isnt working so stop adding more water and switch to chemicals” so “A” tells him ” i guess you dont care about the fire”. Well whose the cruel one ? “A”—– we ALL want a good public school. the ? is how. We keep spending more and more and the ed. goes down so obv.$ isnt the answer and theres no point in bankrupting us. the public schools will get worse until we realize the whole system needsREFORM. public s.s. failed. public medicaid failed public insurance has failed all over the world. Lets wake up and educate our children with charter schools that work!!!

  42. Please listen for both our sakes. youre missing the point. if there was a fire in your house and fireman a was using water to put it out but the fire kept growing so he added more water etc.now fireman b tells him “dummy water isnt working so stop adding more water and switch to chemicals” so “A” tells him ” i guess you dont care about the fire”. Well whose the cruel one ? “A”—– we ALL want a good public school. the ? is how. We keep spending more and more and the ed. goes down so obv.$ isnt the answer and theres no point in bankrupting us. the public schools will get worse until we realize the whole system needsREFORM. public s.s. failed. public medicaid failed public insurance has failed all over the world. Lets wake up and educate our children with charter schools that work!!! (Bussing works and the voters want it so why should it be cut)

  43. bussing is the problem, perceived as being paid for by the state. courtesy busing is not, safety busing is not. if you have the town designate all of these roads as “safety hazard” it will cost $$$. the municipality is the one who should be by law paying the cost of safety bussing. for yrs the town has been asked to build sidewalks, add crossing guards but that hasn’t happened. the schools[private] are all over the map and it is problematic. different schedules, beginning times, ending times, gender bussing all add to the problem. the amount spent will not be changed until the bussing is openly discussed. this is not about religion it is dollars and cents and common sense!

  44. Well if bussing is the problem then lets stop bussing and pour millions more into our failing public school so they fail more. Maybe if we spend 30k a year per kid by increasing salaries and pensions well do better. The issue isnt where to cut. the issue is the public schools dont need any more $ to improve or they woulve improved by now. they need REFORM and just increasing pensions is a foolish diversion.Bussing is a seperate issue that the taxpayers have to decide if we want. This is a democracy.

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