SOM Board of Ed Holds Special Budget Workshop

Wednesday's public meeting will address projected $2.7 million budget gap for 2013-14.


The South Orange - Maplewood Board of Education will hold a special budget workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 pm, in the district meeting room at 525 Academy Street.

Board members will discuss the 2013-14 school district budget, and the possible impact of using "banked cap" to plug — at least in part — an estimated $2.7 million gap in the 2013-14 budget year.

At January's regular BOE meeting, Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider estimated the shortfall would necessitate trying to find further efficiencies in programs considered "variable costs," as well as cutting 20 full-time positions.

However, she explained that the district can utilize $975,328 in banked cap available through 2013-14 (after which it expires) and $506,833 through 2014-15. The banked cap allows the district to levy that amount in taxes above the state-mandated 2% cap. (The district is permitted to use the banked cap because it did not use it in previous years).

"We expect the administration to give us more insight into the impacts the cuts will have on programming, so the board can deliberate on whether or not we should use the banked cap that's at our disposal," said board president Beth Daugherty in a phone message to Patch.

Daugherty said the board will try to get a sense of how cuts might impact students. "We've made a lot of forward progress in preparing all of our students for college and careers," and the board wants to know if the cuts will "set us back and prevent us from going forward."

The board will not take any action at the meeting.

Here is how the rest of budget season will play out:

Feb. 25: Regular BOE meeting

on or before Feb. 28: District finds out how much it will get in state aid

March 4: BOE meets to consider and adopt the preliminary budget to send to the Essex County superintendent for approval

March 5: BOE will present preliminary budget to the Maplewood Township Committee

March 11: BOE will present preliminary budget to South Orange Village Board of Trustees

March 18: Regular BOE meeting

March 27: BOE public hearing and action on the 2013-14 school tax levy


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