Officials will begin review of rejected school questions

PLUMSTED – On April 17, Plumsted had a record turnout of voters (nearly 1,500) for a Board of Education election with five separate tax questions. According to Mayor Ron Dancer, the record turnout of voters resulted in the election of Anthony O’Donnell and Larry Downs to the board.

As to the five separate tax questions, only one (for a nurse) of the five, was approved by the voters. In a school election, voters do not vote on the budget itself, rather the vote is limited to a vote on the amount of local taxes that are needed to support the total budget, according to the mayor.

Regarding the base budget local tax amount, as well as three of the four separate tax amount questions that were not approved, Dancer said he and the other members of the Township Committee want residents to be fully informed of the process between now and May 21, which is the statutory deadline for the committee to complete its review and render a decision on the school tax levy in accordance with state law.

He said school administrators have provided financial information to the committee to begin its review of the defeated budget questions. Consistent with last year’s process, the township will use the professional services of Edward J. Simone, who has 24 years experience as a licensed public school accountant, specializing in school auditing and budgeting.

Following the school board’s reorganization meeting on May 2 and its appointment of two representatives to meet with two members of the Township Committee (Dancer and Committeeman Mike McCue), there will be, as necessary, informal discussions between these representatives.

The committee has requested and will schedule a public meeting with the Board of Education on May 14 to be held in the New Egypt High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The committee will not make any decisions at this meeting, rather, Dancer said officials want to provide an opportunity to hear from all residents on the school issues.

The earliest date the committee could announce a decision would be at the school board’s publicly advertised meeting of May 16. In the event a decision is not made on May 16, a special public meeting would be advertised prior to the statutory deadline of May 21.

The next regularly scheduled public meeting of the Township Committee is May 2 at 8 p.m. Since the Board of Education has called a special reorganization meeting for the same night, Dancer said the township will not place on its May 2 business agenda any item pertaining to the defeated school tax questions.