Shore Regional High School budget passes Despite a tax decrease, Sea Bright votes against spending plan

Staff Writer

By Sherry conohan

Shore Regional High School budget passes
Despite a tax decrease, Sea Bright votes against spending plan

Sea Bright residents voted down the budget for Shore Regional High School in Tuesday’s election, but the approval of voters in the three other sending districts was enough to pass it.

The vote was far from overwhelming. The total tally from the four towns — Monmouth Beach, Oceanport and West Long Branch, in addition to Sea Bright — was 866 in favor, 689 opposed to the $9,466,565 tax levy needed to support the high school’s $10,522,865 budget for 2002-2003.

The school budgets in all four sending towns also were passed.

Even though Sea Bright will see a decrease in its tax for the regional high school under the new budget, voters there rejected it with only 33 votes for the proposal to 45 against it. Borough Council members railed against the amount the town is assessed at their meeting on the night of the election.

Sea Bright Councilman William Gelfound said that the borough pays $1.1 million to send 23.5 students to Shore Regional High School.

"That’s almost $48,000 per student," he said.

The actual figure, under the current formula, is $46,808 per student.

Gelfound said although the borough will be paying $113,000 less in regional school taxes, "That’s still a mountain to climb."

"We have a long way to go," he said, to overcome what he sees as an unfair assessment.

Mayor Gregory W. Harquail said not to give any praise to the high school Board of Education.

"It still costs us $46,000 a year per student," he said.

In Sea Bright, the tax rate for the upcoming school year will go down 5.9 cents to 55.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. It will go up by 6.1 cents in Monmouth Beach to 64.7 cents, up 3.1 cents in Oceanport to 55.9 cents, and up 2.3 cents in West Long Branch to 49.1 cents.

Four members were elected to the Shore Regional Board of Education, three from West Long Branch and one from Oceanport.

In West Long Branch, two three-year terms and one one-year unexpired term were on the ballot. Elected to the three-year terms were Russell Olivadotti with 391 votes, and Ronald O’Neill with 368 votes. Elected to the one-year term was Roderick Petschauer with 375 votes. All ran unopposed.

In Oceanport, the sole candidate for the one three-year term on the ballot, Tadeusz "Ted’’ Szczurek, was re-elected with 329 votes.

In the local school district elections, voters in Sea Bright narrowly passed the $807,468 tax levy for the borough school budget of $953,424 40 to 38. The tax rate for the new budget will go up seven-tenths of a cent from 40.2 cents per $100 assessed valuation to 40.9 cents for 2002-2003.

Sea Bright’s 81 elementary school students are bused to Oceanport schools.

Three members were elected to the Sea Bright Board of Education. They are Trude Arnette with 65 votes, Lynn Shapiro with 60 votes and Linda Boyce with 59.

In Monmouth Beach, voters approved the tax levy for the Shore Regional High School by a vote of 262 to 248. The tax levy of $2,981,852 needed to support the borough’s school budget of $3,549,325 was approved with a little more leeway, 292 to 226. The local school rate will go up 4.72 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to 88.82 cents for the 2002-2003 school year.

Three candidates ran unopposed for election. Elected to three-year terms on the school board were Susan Howard, the president, with 376 votes, and Barbara Giacchi, also with 376 votes. Both Howard and Giacchi are incumbents. Steven Adams, a former board member, won with 369.

In Oceanport, voters supported the Shore Regional budget 234-147. They passed the tax levy of $5,310,352 needed to support the borough’s $6,806,904 school budget 245 to 136.

Three candidates who ran unopposed were elected to the Board of Education. They are Richard McKenna with 309 votes, Joe Henderson with 300 votes and Robert Huber with 282 votes.

In West Long Branch, the Shore Regional tax levy was passed by a vote of 337 to 246. The tax levy of $6,569,081 needed to support the school district’s budget of $8,034,442 was approved by a vote of 323 to 264.

The tax rate for the local school budget will go up 7.95 cents to $1.0274.

Three candidates ran unopposed for election to the borough Board of Education. Dennis Coffey polled the most votes with 381. Christine Critelli received 375 votes and Edwin T. Hunter received 371.