7/24/17: Board cuts $2 million but spends more $ on artificial turf and phones!
In an interesting move, the Vineland BoE was able to cut $2,048,492 from the previously approved 2017-18 budget, but still found money to install artificial turf at Gittone Stadium and ‘upgrade’ the telephone system. Members, they’ve just told you (and the State that funds us and thinks we’re over-funded) that you, your classroom needs, and our students in those classrooms are not the highest priority. The $2 million reduction will be re-occurring and so will the new cost of a $251,000 per year loan payment for 5 years (starting in 2019) to pay for the artificial turf and the telephone system. Other cuts included: 3 special education positions (as the district operates under a corrective action plan in special ed.), $300,000 in adjusting tuition estimates, $300,000 for health insurance for open positions, the bleacher replacement for VHS-S gymnasium, and replacing the retired Vice Principal at Sabater with a substitute for the full year (…keep in mind a new “Title I Principal” position to work out of Plum St at an even higher cost was earlier approved). Landis served tens of thousands of students and employees for 90 years without an elevator, but when the central administration moves in they need a $336,000 elevator? Did you ever have a problem with your district, classroom or office phone (Me neither.)? Stay tuned…and enjoy the rest of your summer! As the old song goes, See you in September…see you when the summer’s through…have a good time…
Monday, July 24 @ 12 noon: Emergency Board Budget Mtg. – Please Attend if you Can!
The recently adopted, N.J. state budget amended Vineland’s already-adopted 2017-18 budget by CUTTING AN ADDITIONAL TWO MILLION DOLLARS! ($2,048,492). PLEASE ATTEND AND IN PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS – ASK THE BOARD NOT TO CUT ANY MORE ACADEMIC PROGRAMS OR STAFFING. The meeting will be held at Board Office at 625 Plum St. Our students have already lost full-time middle school library access and librarians, elementary and middle school computer education, and the reduction in the classes that they can take in high school. The educational program has to be prioritized over other items like artificial turf (cost: over $1 million) or elevator(s) for Landis as an administrative building. Our students’ educational opportunities cannot be reduced with further program or staff cuts.
Who’s to blame? Senate President Stephen Sweeney. Sweeney insisted that the state’s budget would not be passed without a change to the school funding formula. In an act of compromise to pass the required budget, the Legislature approved it. The plan shifted aid mostly from impoverished, urban districts to suburban growth districts. Rather than raise the necessary revenue to fund the S.F.R.A., it’s a classic case of ‘robbing Peter (us) to pay Paul (suburban districts).
What can the Vineland Board do? The State Dept. of Education will allow districts with funding cuts to: 1) makeup the loss of funds by utilizing their surplus (probably not enough in it), 2) cutting items from their already-adopted budgets, (programs and staffing vulnerable) or 3) some combination of the two. PLEASE HELP MAKE SURE THE ITEMS CUT DO NOT IMPACT THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM.
Louis Russo, President