Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | March 25, 2010

Budget Cuts

It’s hard for me to post on the budget cuts here when I know how bad the economy and school cuts are in California. Our new governor (one columnist called him Gov. Wrecking Ball) started slashing. The schools here were expecting some  cuts, but not as deep as they got. In New Jersey, education is funded partly by the state government and partly by local property taxes. There may be some other funding in there – I don’t know how it works completely. “Wealthier’ districts rely more heavily on property taxes. Districts like Newark rely more on state funding.

Our last town school budget received about $4.7 million from the state for education  – amounting to 5% of the budget I think. Gov. Christie cut 90% of that – so instead of receiving around $4.7 million, we’re going to get $425,000 or so. That means we receive virtually no funding from the state for education. So much for our already high property taxes. I’m even more grateful now that we moved to a county whose taxes are much lower than some of the neighboring counties (some of those areas have double our property tax rate). We look at the property taxes as the equivalent of us paying private school tuition.

Now the school district has something like two weeks to pass a new budget cutting $4.2 million. It doesn’t help that the school district recently negotiated teacher salaries for the next three years. While they changed the health plan, and are charging teachers more to participate (saving about $1 million), they also gave them 4% raises annully for three years. This district also has some of the highest paid teachers around. I’m not begrudging the teachers their salaries, but a 4% increase annually in this economy? Even private sectors don’t get near that.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. The schools here already have a lot more than we’re used to in California. Like a full time school nurse. Art class and music class twice a week. Instrument lessons starting in fourth grade. Spanish class starting in third grade (Dori wouldn’t mind if that was cut). A guidance counselor (half the week) in elementary school.

The district is looking to cut some after school programming (intramurals and fall drama productions) in middle school and high school, as well as some staff positions (teachers and administrators). They’re looking at more energy conservation programs, which is a good thing. We’ll see what happens.


Responses

  1. […] As I mentioned previously, our town (well, the whole state) is going through budget cuts. Our school system lost 90% of its federal funding, and the town lost funding too. One area […]


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