UPDATED: The Board of Education this evening voted down the school budget – which included an increase of over $5 million dollars, as earlier reported on News Alerts. The budget was unanimously voted down by all members present – Carl Fink, Tracy Tift, Joel Schwartz, Isaac Zlatkin and Lee Mund.
The proposed budget was $78,031,500, which included a net increase of $5,257,113. Items set to increase according to the proposed budget, are: Transportation: 2.4 million, Health benefits for employees 1.2 million, Increase in negotiated salaries: 900,000, Increase in tuition costs: 3 million, and Increase in services: 230,000.
Prior to roll call on the vote, statements were made by multiple members of the board, including Joel Schwartz.
“As an elected member of the public, I have an obligation to the children of Lakewood as well as to the taxpayers. I reviewed the budget that’s been presented to me tonight for a vote. I am confident that both the BA and Superintendent who worked countless days, hours and weekends, presented the most lean yet realistic budget without compromising the services of the children of Lakewood. I would like to commend them for their tireless efforts on behalf of the children of Lakewood. Unfortunately, our taxpayers simply cannot afford it. We need more Federal and State Aid to help our very unique district.”
BOE President Carl Fink made the following statement prior to the vote:
“I have personally reviewed the budget in detail, as did the other board members. I want to comment the administration for assembling a sound budget to provide a thorough and efficient education for the children of Lakewood.
My recommendation to the board is not to approve this budget, although the structure of the budget is sound, we, the Lakewood taxpayer cannot afford it.
We need to send a clear message to the department of education which has helped us in so many ways that our state aid must be revisited.
The Lakewood school district is a district in need of improvement with 3 focus schools and 1 priority high school and is like no other school district in the state.
We have an obligation to educate and safely transport 28,000 students, which we do not receive appropriate funding for.”
Schwartz was glad he attended the important meeting, despite it coinciding with Chol Ha’moed Pesach.
“I was there tonight to show my support to the administration for doing the best the were able to, given the circumstances they were facing with the funding formula. They understand our objection to the burden the taxpayers would be facing. I felt it was one the most important meeting of the year to be in attendance.”
The budget now heads to the County for review. TLS.