UFRSD budget rejected due to bloated costs

Immediately following the overwhelming (73.8 percent against) rejection of the proposed school budget by the residents of Upper Freehold, Joseph Stampe, school board president, blamed the result on the costs associated with opening the new school, the loss of state/special fund aid and “a township-wide property revaluation.”

This is self-serving nonsense. There has been no township-wide property revaluation, only an arbitrary and illegal revaluation done by the tax assessor, with half of the township residents gaining a significant reduction in their 2010 assessments and property taxes and the other half receiving (next month) a significant increase in their property taxes.

The budget was rejected because of the wasteful, unnecessary and bloated administrative and other costs resulting from the actions of the superintendent and school board, including hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted each year on unnecessary vice principals, assistant superintendents and other personnel such as an information officer.

As if the significant property tax increase to come next month on half of the residents of Upper Freehold Township isn’t enough, the superintendent and school board now propose to punish the ungrateful residents and their children who had the nerve to vote against their budget by (according to the April 8, 2010, budget) firing perhaps 28 teachers, firing the local bus drivers (who gave us substantial pay concessions earlier this year and who know, look after, and safely drive our children to school) and charging parents a substantial, extra busing fee for most students who live less than 2½ miles from school (at a total cost savings of less than three-tenths of 1 percent of the budget). Yet the administrative salaries and benefits remain equal to 20 percent or more of the total costs of classroom teachers salaries, benefits, supplies and outside teaching services.

The next Township Committee meeting is 7 p.m. on May 6 at the municipal building. If anyone (parents and students) is bothered by the foregoing perhaps you should attend and voice your concerns and opinions.
Ron Taft
Upper Freehold