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"Plan A" School Budget Calls for Major Building Maintenance Project

For the 2013-14 school year, the River Edge Board of Education is proposing a major building project for its school budget to either remove asbestos or replace some roofing.

Setting aside $475,000 , the River Edge Board of Education's "Plan A" 2013-14 budget calls for a major building project to either remove contained asbestos or replace a large area of roofing at Cherry Hill School.

The Board presented its preliminary budget recently based on the district receiving the as in prior years. The estimated $15,638,260 budget remains at the 2% tax levy cap of $13,508,217.

"We have two large maintaince items which have been postponed over thelast several years due to a lack of state aid and trying to keep eduation programs intact," Board Administrator Debbie Trainor said. "Now we'd really like to address one of two major maintenance projects at Cherry Hill."

According to Superintendent Dr. Tova Ben-Dov, the district would be able to accomplish one maintenance project over the summer months by either removing the known asbestos or replacing the roof.

"We would never be able to do both in one summer, but they have been on the backburner for a long time, Ben-Dov said. "It's contained asbestos but there are also concerns over leaks in the roof. We can only go so long before addressing them."

The district has also proposed several other capital projects by adding more indoor secutiry cameras in the schools, replacing an exterior door from the Cherry Hill attic to the roof, replacement interior classroom doors, continuing the boiler refurbish program and replacing several hot water heaters.

Another new addition to the school would be expanding the Building Connections program for a full Pre-K through sixth grade program and allow for accepting three additional out-of-district students. Expanding the program would bring in $160,347 in tuition revenue, which would completely cover the added classroom, according to Trainor and Ben-Dov.

"Last year, we realized that even though we have a strong autistic program, we needed something else," Ben-Dov said. "That service is Building Connections which is mainly for children who do not necessarily have a large learning disability but have behavioral needs that need to be addressed in a small forum."

The new class is estimated to save the district approximately $2 million so that the district is not sending any students out of district. The added program, if instituted, would begin in September 2013 and enroll three borough residents and three out-of-distrcts students.

"This is probably the last class we will open due to the close quarters," Ben-Dov said.

The Board of Education will continue discussing the preliminary budget plans during its Feb. Feb. 6, 7:30pm meeting at Roosevelt School. The district is expected to receive its 2013-14 school year state aid amount on Feb. 28 and will then approve its final budget on March 6. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for March 27.

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NO TO TAX HIKE February 04, 2013 at 06:00 PM
If it's necessary for children; then, I support, but don't think that all the budget/money allocated can be spent. There should be an independent audit by the parents volunteers on the bids and contract signed. Any unspent money should be returned.
HanksFranks February 04, 2013 at 09:16 PM
That's a rude comment! Sounds like something Murphy would say.
Michael Jordan February 05, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Contained asbestos MEANS IT IS SAFE and is not a danger, why try to fix it if it is doing ok? I think you should build up a rainy day surplus.
NO TO TAX HIKE February 05, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Hey jack gas, I don't have kids going to this school, but I pay taxes. Where else I can voice concerns about lack of financial discipline in this borough, by the schools, in particuar! Perhaps I should talk to the lawyers for refund? I am for the rainy day surplus.
Todd vandeweghe February 06, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Encapsulate asbestos. Removal is more dangerous to the building occupants than the crew removing it. Roof leaks are more costly when ignored. Go with a reputable company with the best guarantee.
NO TO TAX HIKE February 06, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Why we have costly roof repairs one after another. Will there be another one? Do a cheap quick fix!
GGT February 12, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Amazing the massive amount of money spent on Cherry Hill/NBC over the last 10 years, and it is still not enough!! Half a million here, half a million there! Whatever, it's only money!!

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