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Board Approves Excess Funds for Capital Reserve

An estimated $2.5 million will be used on repairs for the next school year's budget.

At this week's Board of Education Meeting, the agenda was hefty but the majority of the meeting revolved around public comments concerning excess funds in the district and a few other issues.

The issue discussed was the approved resolution which at the estimated $2.5 million from this year's excess will be put towards the 2013-2014 capital reserve budget.

The rest of the extra funds will be put into the surplus account. A district is only allowed to have two percent surplus account of the districts budget by state law, which with Millburn's $75 million budget is $1.5 million, so the rest needed a resolution to be allocated somewhere. 

A few residents complained the estimated $2.5 million should be used as tax relief for residents. These residents said they believed the state aid money, which doubled this year to $1.5 million, was supposed to lower school taxes as a property tax relief. 

Superintendent Dr. James Crisfield explained, in an interview later, that was one of the options given to the town from the state in July of 2011, when the board received the funds. That option detailed, the board could reduced the tax levy, lowering the taxes for residents.The other was to raise the budget to $75,750,000 and spend it.

At that point, when the board received the money, the budget was already completed. It would have had to revise it and rush to make a decision allocating the funds Crisfield said.

The board decided then, it would wait and save the funds to discuss what the best use of the state aid would be, which was the third option Crisfield said.

"Now we have given it thought [it will go to capital reserve] because we have so many of these projects that have been neglected for so many years," Crisfield said in reference to work on the middle school's gym, possible roofing issues, bathroom renovations in the high school and fixing schools walkways. 

The board is predicting this excess, of $1.7 to $2.5 million, is due to line items overbudget and extra revenue raise over the last school year since it is not completely finished yet. 

Also during the public comment, Monica Palma spoke to the board about the recent senior prank at the high school and the punishment banning the students from the cruise. She asked the board to create a system for disciplinary action where the students receive due process. Still more to come on incident. 

Additionally, Ed Rummel spoke on behalf of the Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey for use of the high school's auditorium after set backs over the last year. More information from the Patch as well.

The board approved all 21 agenda resolutions and scheduled the board's retreat meeting on July 9 at 7:45 p.m. and the board's self evaluation meeting on July 30 at 7:45 p.m. as well. 

Carolyn Most June 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM
So the vast majority of cuts to the budget for the past year: dropping a team at the middle school, cutting the elementary World Language program, cutting Courtesy busing were competently unnecessary. In fact for busing, everyone who is using it got taxed twice - once for their property and a second time by paying fees. And Crisfield was lobbying for a full 2% tax increase for the 2012/2013 school year. Even the .65% the BOE approved was clearly unnecessary. If our district is in dire need of capital improvement - which I a completely agree we are - then the community should be asked to approve it via a bond, not by intentionally bloating the budget every year. What the Patch failed to report is that when a member of the community asked the BOE and Crisfield, if they had no capital concerns and were not limited as to how they could spend the money, what would they spend it on, what new program would they introduce , what existing program would they transform? The best they could come up with was technology.
Carolyn Most June 28, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Jeff Waters assured us a the BOE meeting in November when the audited results of 2010/2011 were reviewed, that we were on track to see less than $2M in surplus this year. And that they had eliminated the problem of excess surplus going forward. So let's here the justification from defenders of the BOE and Administration about how this really represents a win for the community, about what a great job the Admin and BOE are doing and what a moron I am, and how I don't understand how hard the job of the Admin and BOE are, and how I am out to destroy the school district's reputation. Seems like they don't need any help from me today.
neanderer June 28, 2012 at 02:17 PM
do you have a list of the items that were approved by the board?
Craig McCarthy June 28, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Yes neanderer. I attached the agenda as a PDF to the article with explanations of all resolutions approved.
neanderer June 28, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I was wondering if the BOE detailed what specific line items they had allocated the 1.7 million to. If I was to ask my boss for 1.7 million dollars, I would need to provide a proposal of how that money would be spent. Where is the BOE's detailed list of how they are spending our tax dollars?
Milke Millburn June 28, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Maybe they can use the money to clean the mold from the middle school.
neanderer June 28, 2012 at 08:53 PM
So now there is a special meeting of the BOE tonight, where they will vote on approving several contracts, one for purchasing $1,642,542 worth of MacBook Pros (950), iMacs (300) and iPads (120) over 5 years. Wonder how these are to be distributed to the schools and how the BOE came up with the numbers of computers? But, we would be asking for transparency from our BOE, which doesn't seem to be in the cards for MIllburn tax payers. Just pay your ever-increasing taxes and the BOE will spend the $$$.
Noreen Brunini June 28, 2012 at 09:11 PM
What about the high school turf field, was that on the list? Not only will the recent water main damage to the field be expensive to fix but doesn't the whole thing need to be replaced soon? I thought they have a life span of about 10 years and I think it opened in 2004; so for budgeting purposes BOE should be thinking about this item now.
Carolyn Most June 29, 2012 at 08:49 PM
My understanding is that insurance is covering the field repairs for that part of the field but anticipating the need for turf replacement, let alone any other needs, does not seem to be the Admin or the BOE's forte. They seem to believe in management by crisis.

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