Budget Woes Looming, River Edge Moves School Elections
School elections will be held in November following a 5-2 approval vote
Following the most recent news that the school district will have to face cutting two teachers for a balanced budget, the River Edge Board of Education voted 5-2 to move the school elections to November on Wednesday night. The lone 'nay' votes were Shawn Kucharski and Paris Myers.
The preliminary school budget calls for $310,613 in state aid, similar to what was received in the prior year. The district was given $169,228 following Gov. Chris Christie's 2011 State of the Budget address and then an additional $141,365 over the summer. The extra state aid, all $141,365 was returned to the voters as a tax break.
"There is still a huge concern if we don't get as much state aid," Board Administrator Debbie Trainor said. "We'll find out our state aid late on Feb. 23 during winter break and I need to submit the budget to the County by March 5."
The proposed budget of $14,545,350 includes a tax levy of $13,243,350 and remains within the 2% tax levy cap. But at the same time, it included $193,400 in cuts by eliminating one discovery lab teacher, the gifted and talented teacher, and postponing eight buildings and grounds maintenance projects.
"If we have to make more cuts, the Board has until the public hearing to decide where it needs to come from," Trainor said. "All we can do is hope for the best but expect the worst."
Any school budget exceeding the 2 percent cap would still go to voters in November. The state Education Department would also still review the budgets following the Bergen County Executive Superintendent's review.
Both the River Dell Regional and Oradell Boards of Education voted to move their school elections after Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation Jan. 17 allowing school boards statewide to change elections and eliminate budget referendums
Board members whose terms would have expired this spring will now have their terms extended. Board members elected in November would take office in January.