October 16, 2013 at 6:55 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - The budget for Livingston Public Schools has consistently been structured to reflect the educational priorities of our Strategic Plan while staying below the statutory increase caps above which a special vote would be required. Per student spending in Livingston is below the state average and less than most of our peer districts. Economic efficiencies resulting from changes in state law and contract negotiation have enabled the restoration of some programs cut after the loss of millions of dollars of state aid. And although the vast majority of the LPS budget is set by contract, we have achieved efficiencies such as extending the school day.
Suggestions for increasing revenue and achieving efficiencies have been offered recently, but fortunately for Livingston taxpayers, the Board has already implemented the very ideas that form the basis for many of those suggestions. For example, the Board has instituted policies that enable endowments, sponsorships and advertising, and that support the Livingston Education Foundation. With the help of our District’s Director of Communications, Livingston educators have applied for and obtained education and , technology grants, and the District has benefitted from substantial construction grants which cover 40% of costs. In addition, through the use of technology, we continue to achieve efficiencies in education through on-line course opportunities and Skype where appropriate.
Going forward, we should continue to focus fundraising and spending on technology required for meeting testing and curriculum requirements and on the priorities set by a new Strategic Planning process to begin in the coming months. Ron and I urge taxpayers to attend Board meetings and community forums and participate in the process through public comment and email.
We ask members of the public to contact us with their ideas and questions about all that is currently happening in our schools at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.