Voters support Roosevelt Public School budget

Average homeowner can expect to pay $4,350 to support spending plan


Voters in the Roosevelt school election overwhelmingly supported the $1.4 million tax levy to support the 2010-11 school budget.

While only 168 voters took to the polls April 20, twice as many cast ballots for the $2.5 million spending plan as those who voted against it. Monmouth County election results showed 118 voted for the tax levy with 50 people voting against it.

Roosevelt is in the minority of state school districts that approved school budgets this week. Out of all the budgets proposed across New Jersey, 58.4 percent failed. In Monmouth County, 14 budgets failed out of the 28 proposed, a 50 percent failure rate.

Roosevelt Public School’s 2010-11 spending plan relies on the average homeowner paying a tax increase of $381. A resident with a home assessed at the borough’s average of $247,696 will pay $4,350 in school taxes this year. The tax rate amounts to $1.76 per $100 of assessed value, a 5.85 percent increase over last year.

After Gov. Chris Christie took office, the state decreased the school’s aid for fiscal year 2009-10 by $193,000. This forced the Board of Education to use surplus — money that would have normally been available for tax relief for 2010-11 — to make up for funds the state withheld. The state also told the school to expect a 15.66 percent reduction, or $127,000, in state aid for 2010-11. The budget relies on $706,785 in state aid.

To make up for the deficit created by reduced state aid, the school reduced costs of basic and remedial skills, the child study team and student transportation. The school also cut spending for technology, Spanish instruction, gym and health, and before-and after-school programs, plus a decrease in the unreserved general fund balance. While the cuts impact some staff, the budget did not eliminate any staff positions. Roosevelt Public School teachers are among the lowest paid teachers in the county. They already contribute to the cost of their health care coverage and will be required to increase that amount under the 2011-2014 contract.

Instead of cutting staff, the school applied $50,000 from its surplus to the new budget, reducing the surplus to $136,262.

The budget also includes increased spending in some areas. Costs for regular programming rose from $25,513 to $673,985. Instructional service improvements will cost $11,656 more than last year to total $63,530. Special education costs increase $6,196 to $71,065. The extracurricular activities spending is going up from $2,426 last year to $4,000. Health services costs will increase $2,942 to $10,050. The school library budget expands from $545 to $3,000. General administration costs increase $1,850. School administration costs are going up $3,959. Health benefit costs are rising $74,439. Food service costs increase $7,136. Total support service expenditures are rising $149,172 to approximately $1.67 million. Operation and maintenance service spending are going up $102,402 because the school has to replace the heater in the gym.

The budget also contains a debt service payment of $79,564.

In the election, voters also reappointed the two incumbents running to retain their seats on the board. Jaymie Kosa received 113 votes; Kelly Yang, 112 votes. Voters also elected Edward Goetzmann with 124 votes. He ran uncontested for the seat Linda Grayson held; she opted not to run again.