With Taxes Up, Voters More Likely To Reject School Budgets

BOE_building_TLS-MediumFaced with a backlash against school spending in 2006, school districts in Monmouth and Ocean counties took a beating at the polls, with a record number of budget questions defeated that year. It could be another record-breaker when the annual school elections are held Tuesday, with another round of heightened concerns over school spending threatening to carry the day. Voters will finally get their say after months of fighting between Gov. Chris Christie and leaders of education unions over Christie’s call for wage freezes. State aid for schools has been cut by at least 5 percent across the board; some school districts have much larger cuts. As a result, many districts have announced layoffs and dropped academic and athletic programs from their budget proposals, but budgets generally carry tax increases anyway.

In Lakewood, where voter approval of the budget seems unlikely, since none of the questions of the last four years passed, the proposed tax increase is almost three times that of last year’s.

In Monmouth County, about two-thirds of the school budget questions are approved each year, with the exception occurring in 2006, when just 38.9 percent of the questions passed. Ocean County school budgets had a 58.6 approval performance that year, well below the county’s usual acceptance rate.

Last year statewide, voters approved 73.3 percent of the 550 proposed tax levies.

On Tuesday, voters in eight Monmouth municipalities will decide on a total $118.3 million tax levy for the Freehold Regional High School District. Middletown residents will vote on a $124 million levy for their K-12 district.

Also at stake Tuesday are seats on local school boards. There are 27 contested races in Monmouth County, with a total of 207 candidates seeking 160 seats. The positions are uncompensated, and most carry three-year terms. Read full article in APP.

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  1. IF ALL children, no matter which school they attended, were to walk per the state guidelines, the busing item in the school budget would go WAY DOWN. That would probably mean a reduction in SCHOOL TAXES, not an INCREASE.

  2. If all teachers, no matter which school they attended, were to receive the same salaries and benefits as those in Yeshivos/Bais Yaakovs do; drop the myriad vice principals and adiministators and reign in the obscene costs to educate ESL students- the school budget would go WAY DOWN. That would certainly mean a reduction in SCHOOL TAXES, not an INCREASE.

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