As promised by Governor Christie, school districts can no longer apply to the education commissioner for waivers to adjust the local levy by more than the calculated cap; ten loopholes have been eliminated. However, it must be noted that this state-level restriction only shifts cost control responsibility to local voters.
Passage of local ballot questions to increase tax levy has been changed from a 60% affirmative requirement to a simple majority. This change combined with restrictive voting hours and strategically scheduled after school activities gives unfair advantage to those favoring increased spending. The public must take advantage of “Vote by Mail” to level the playing field.. Get to the municipal building and complete an application today!
A new revenue account 18-4522 has been established to record the $122,545 Education Jobs Fund monies from the federal government. The funds must be spent prior to September 2012 and may be used for employee salaries to provide school-level educational and related services. In a September 20, 2010 memo however, the Department of Education encouraged districts to avoid spending that grows future obligations. “they should provide your district with the breathing room needed to plan for educationally sound, balanced budgets in the austere days to come. It is unwise to assume that there will be additional streams of federal jobs money…” Wise advice that will most likely be ignored.
Superintendent Vitta holds budget details close to tis vest but I’ll continue to expose what I can.