Proposed BOE Budget With Over $5 Million Increase Voted Down

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.

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  1. Mazal Tov! May you be an example for many other school boards to follow. Teachers and administrators should be grateful that they have jobs in this economy when so many others cannot get employment or must accept lower wages than they had previously.

  2. Finally, we have BOE members who care about the children as well as the taxpayers. Thank you Meir Hertz for explaining to Lakewoods’s voters how we were being ripped off by the old BOE. You opened our eyes, and Boruch Hashem we changed the course of this town.

    Thank you Chezky Zeitler and Yoni Silver for starting these reforms, and even when you were still in the minority, you tried as hard as possible to keep taxes stable. Now, with your great effort and determination, you succeeded in becoming the majority.

    Now, Boruch Hashem, kids are getting the services they always needed, taxes haven’t gone up, and you are trying as best as possible to reform the district as well.

    Lakewood thanks you, and appreciates all you have done.

  3. Maybe we need to start charging tuition in the public school. Obviously the taxpayer is carrying that burden. Today’s economy can no longer offer “free” services to some and charge others.

  4. The two area’s that are costing taxpayers the most is transportation and special education. Both categories are mandated by the state, but the state is not helping Lakewood with it’s proper share of funds. Hats off the the BOE members for voting the budget down.
    Where were the other members.

  5. I think this BOE or TLS should learn some math .Add up your proposed increases and it is way over 5 million it is over seven and a half million . That is about a 10 percent increase. Even if the county knocks off a little that is still a huge tax increase. Why are you guys patting yourself s on the shoulder ????

  6. to #9 my suggestion would be ,firstly, report the truth.As for the actual budget I know it is a very complicated issue.But if you must raise the budget 10% don’t boast that your new board is better then the old ones.

  7. These new layers have charged us 3 million dollars more then inzalbuch!!!! I want the old board back NOW!! This crazy!! We bring these new guys in to lower taxes and get a cheaper lawyer and all we get is more taxes and a more fees from these new “better”, “cheaper” lawyers!!!

  8. the increase in expenses is 8mil but boe had over 2mill unused tax money so they applied it to the 8mill to get 5 mill.
    Read the article it says ‘NET INCREASE’

  9. (moderated) Included in this budget was $900000 for salary negotiations. Coincidentally, non tenured teachers were notified over spring break that they have 4 weeks to prepare an extensive portfolio documenting why they should be rehired otherwise they will be terminated. Not allowing teachers to attain tenure may save a few dollars but having perpetually inexperienced teachers is not a way to save this district. Once again, penny wise and pound foolish!

  10. I have to say several things. First remember your public schools are old the last time any of the public schools had any major renovations were in the early 90’s. So the heating systems, windows, roofs, alarms systems are all probably in need of some sort of upgrading and not to forget technology. Then 28,000 children need to be transported to both public and privates schools. That all costs money then salaries.

  11. new board same as old board. what a pity we all thought there was some courage and commitment and now we see its the same old same old. not presenting a budget = not doing your duty. perform or resign. Vote a budget you believe in, and stop dreaming of getting the state and federal government to bail you out. 25 years of school boards have said the same old thing. Get real or get out. Please.

  12. If you really know what’s going on with state aid you will see that because our board did not raise taxes by the 2 percent threshold set by Christie, the district lost out on 4.3 million dollars of state aid. Lakewood fell $900,000 short. Ty (moderated) for using your infinite wisdom to make this happen.

  13. I happen to agree with you but:
    explain what you would do with busing, dismissal times etc.
    Then ask yourself what the seniors could afford?
    then ask yourself why no real capital improvements were done till this new board arrived.
    It’s easy to put blame on people when you sit on the sidelines.

  14. “lakewood resident says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    March 30, 2013 at 4:49 pm ”
    REALLY what is the problem , obviously you cant speak the facts on this site !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. To # 20. If you believe that what you write is unbiased and non-anti-Semitic, then why do hide your name?

    Making comments such as yours – anonymously – will not get published. There are other sites which will be more than glad to accept comments such as yours – but TLS won’t.

    Thank you.

  16. This BOE has outlined the issues related to an unfair disadvantage that the Lakewood School District has regarding State aid. Because the student population of Public School Students is about 5,300 the aid is calculated on that premise. Adding 23,000 Private School Students does not compute well with the formula.

    Now is the time for all parties to come together to determine how the budget can be reduced. This is the time for sacrifice by all to save the district.

    1. Start/end times by school need to be negotiated, in order to establish an efficient transportation system, The absence of negotiating this issue will surely result in higher taxes for all. It may even bring about other unintended consequences, such as higher taxes.

    2. Outsourcing of only the severe cases of special needs children is required. Insourcing to the Lakewood School District for special needs children, is needed. This puts the needed financial resources toward the children with severe disabilities and places children with less than severe disabilities within the District. Failure to negotiate this issue is not an option, if taxpayers do not want higher taxes.

  17. I agree and disagree with your comment. If the comment is not biased and not demeaning to any religion I believe it should be posted. A lot of comments are taken out of context when emailed. I do enjoy the Lakewood scoop but at times many comments from your readers are biased.

  18. The Lakewood School system is unlike any other in the state. Our budget includes services for a ridiculous number of non-publis special education students. We have to pay exorbitant amount for the transportation of non-public school students. The district is consistently over-budget. When is the state of New Jersey going to come in and straighten out this farce?

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