Education

First Draft of Millburn School District Budget Shows $81.9 Million in Expenditures

January 14, 2014 at 6:38 AM

MILLBURN, NJ - Superintendent of Schools James Crisfield on Monday presented to the Board of Education an initial draft of the proposed 2014-2015 school budget totaling $81,913,978 in expenditures, or a 4.21 percent increase over 2013-2014 budgeted expenditures.

Revenues in the draft budget show an increase of 1.75 percent for a total of $79,981,589.

Among the chief assumptions in the spending plan, according to Crisfield, are a 2 percent increase in local taxes in support of the budget and state aid remaining “flat.”

Sign Up for E-News

The superintendent noted that the gap between revenues and expenditures currently stands at $1,932,389 with the 2 percent tax “placeholder.”

Among “sources of retained funds” the spending plan, current to June 30, 2013, includes $1,433,194 for the state-allowed surplus (or “rainy day fund), down from $1,524,744 in June 30, 2012; $1,842,000 in excess surplus (contingencies unspent and unexpected revenues), down from $1,932,567; the emergency reserve fund remaining at $700,000, and the capital reserve fund, at $1,674,801, down from $4,603,063, after expenditures on a number of major capital projects.

Areas of largest projected expenditure increases include curriculum and instruction, up 21.95 percent; capital projects, up 144.87 percent; and technology, up 29.14 percent.

Monday's presentation for the first time included actual expenditures from the 2012-2013 budget.

Crisfield noted “actuals” for the 2013-2014 budget would not be available until costs of winter expenditures and overtime costs for this winter are figured in.

The superintendent also presented enrollment figures, based on the school demographer's projections and official figures submitted to the state in October, which showed a .59 percent decrease, from 4,937 to 4,908 students from 2013-2014 to 3014-2015.

Despite the enrollment drop, the projected budget calls for a net staffing impact of 4.69 fulltime equivalent positions.

Board member Raymond Wong questioned both the increase in staffing in light of the decrease in enrollment and what he called a “major” increase in technology staffing.

Crisfield replied that the three fulltime equivalent fulltime positions districtwide were due to the fact that PAARC testing will be conducted in at least five district schools during the next school year and personnel are needed to supervise the technology involved in the online testing.

He did say, however, that it is possible the PAARC positions can be filled by contracting for those services and promised to have more information on that available for future budget sessions.

The staffing increase also was questioned by former board member Josh Scharf, who, using enrollment figures presented last fall, estimated a drop in the number of students from 5,045 to 4,925, or 120 students.

The superintendent noted that, while the elementary schools would see the elimination of two sections of kindergarten, for a decrease of two fulltime equivalent teaching positions, special education and basic skills areas still would need increases in staffing, with a half-time special education teacher, at the kindergarten-to-fifth-grade level; a 0.4 fulltime equivalent basic skills teacher at the sixth-to-eighth-grade level and an additional special education psychologist at the sixth-to-12th-grade level.

Scharf continued to press his demand for more aggressive handling of non-resident student enrollment, saying that modern technology made it much easier to trace non-resident students than the “clock-and-dagger methods” he said were portrayed by a former board member and school officials at recent school body meetings.

He said a software system called “Verified Residence.com” could be used to obtain “any information about anybody,” and also decried a Millburn policy that allows students found to be non-residents at the beginning of their senior year to finish the year in Millburn High School without paying tuition.

Ridgewood, according to Scharf, requires payment of tuition from the junior year from any student found not to be a resident. He also said that Ridgewood has district-wide electronic registration.

According to the former Millburn board member, by tracking down and disenrolling 100 non-resident students the township district could make up this year's budgetary gap between revenues and expenditures. He also said non-resident students in Millburn High School who are admitted to the top colleges obtain those admissions by using resources, such as advanced placement courses, that should be used by resident township students.

Responding to former board member Abby Kalen, the superintendent said that district expenditures for legal expenses to settle suits by special education parents were included under the support services portion of the budget. A request by Kalen that these expenditures be broken out into more detail would be complied with at future budget meetings, Crisfield said.

On another budgetary topic raised by Wong, the superintendent said the local share of projects funded under state RODs grants would be included under the capital reserve category. However, expenditures for improvements at Glenwood School ruled ineligible for RODs grants would be listed under capital projects.

Questions about budgetary expenditures next will be addressed at the board's open discussion forum on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. at the Millburn Public Library, Crisfield noted.

He added further budget discussions are scheduled for the education body's Jan. 27, Feb. 10 and Feb. 24 and March 10 meetings, with the annual public budget hearing set for March 24.

In a presentation preceding that on the budget, high school students Josh Chodor and Max Retik on MHS Studio 462, the high school's new television station.

Founded about a year ago, through funding from the Millburn Education Foundation, the station's mission is to “bring the community closer together” by making events at the high school more accessible to the general public.

Studio 462—the numeral is the address of the school—is student-run with participants from all grade levels and with content ranging from a weekly Tuesday morning news broadcast into classrooms, live streaming of some sports events, assemblies and other school functions and student-produced commercials and promotional videos.

The station founders said they would like to see live streaming of football games, broadcast of station content on local access cable television and broadcasting of the content on speakers throughout the high school.

They are seeking wider recognition of student volunteers who run the station because they feel their work on the station will give them a leg up for college admissions and later careers in broadcasting or the arts.

The pair credited their participation in the school's digital video production curriculum led by teacher Gabe Rhodes as providing the background and inspiration to bring the station to fruition.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Senior Rabbi of B'nai Jeshurun of Short Hills Leads 50 Adults to Israel

SHORT HILLS, NJ - Congregation B’nai Jeshurun’s Senior Rabbi, Matthew D. Gewirtz, led a group of 50 adults to Israel in early November. In addition to touring, the trip included Adult B’nai Mitzvah services and discussions with local leaders on various aspects of life in Israel.

Rabbi Gewirtz began his tenure as the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in ...

Millburn-Short Hills Set to Ring In the Year of the Rooster at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum

January 15, 2017

SHORT HILLS, NJ - The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is set to kick off on January 28, ushering out the year of the monkey and welcoming in the Year of the Rooster. To mark this joyful new beginning the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum is partnering with the Chinese Association of Millburn-Short Hils, Millburn High School, and the Wushu-Kung Fu Fitness Center on Saturday, January 22 ...

Theft at Louis Vuitton; Fraud and Forgery Strike Nordstrom at Short Hills Mall

January 14, 2017

On January 5, 2017 Millburn Police Officer Zonn responded to the Louis Vuitton store at The Mall at Short Hills on a theft report. Louis Vuitton personnel report a Hispanic male wearing an olive colored jacket and jeans concealed a pair of sunglasses valued at $760.00 and left the store without making payment. The incident is under investigation by the Millburn Police Detective Bureau.

On ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_c1d249dd6a8a6bea5967_ed2ffdb07d91f0b7a25c_unnamed__19_

Mon, January 16, 9:30 AM

The Sports Academy, Millburn

Millburn HS Baseball Team Winter Clinic ...

Carousel_image_21c3c2c1d78407c6eb8b_unknown_copy

Mon, January 16, 11:30 AM

Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary, Short Hills

Hot Chocolate Open House at the Cora Hartshorn ...

Education Green

Carousel_image_59a7b4018b794b227aba_45e6b0efac0b3744f6ac_download__3_

Tue, January 17, 7:30 PM

Town Hall - Committee Room, Millburn

Township Committee Meeting

Point View Trio of Dietze, Toth and Petrides Present '17 Investment Outlook to Chamber Audience

January 15, 2017

Forecast with humility, and be skeptical of those who would divine. Think long term; don’t get fixated on an annual outlook.

That was part of the sage financial advice offered up by Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President, and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, as he and the firms Vice President and Chief Operating Office, Claire Toth, and its ...

Essex County Deer Management Program 2017

Essex County, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. outlined plans for the 2017 Essex County Deer Management Program in Essex County South Mountain Reservation and Essex County Hilltop Reservation on Tuesday, January 10th. This is the 10th year of the program, which is geared toward revitalizing the forest ecology by reducing the number of deer.

“Controlling the ...

Millburn Winter Recreation Lineup Includes Return of Junior Scientists Program

Science and Technology Workshops Returning to Millburn Winter Recreation Lineup- All new projects and lessons for returning participants.

At Smartycat Kids, we are all about making learning science fun. Using fully hands-on activities and experiments, we cover many areas of science including: Biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, technology, earth science and green science. Would your ...

Pure Barre Short Hills Announces 2017 Fitness Challenge

SHORT HILLS, NJ – Pure Barre, the largest and most established barre concept in North America, is pleased to announce the Set The Barre challenge, to help new and existing clients reach their 2017 health and fitness goals.

Whether you’re looking to switch up your fitness routine or start working out, Pure Barre can work with you to accomplish your new years resolutions. Designed to ...

Today’s Bond Market - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

2016’s final days left bond investors unsettled.

Just a few months ago, with the backdrop of the surprise July Brexit vote, U.S. Treasury yields hit record lows. Donald Trump’s election as president has increased concerns of a new round of tax cuts and greater government spending, which could stimulate inflation. The Federal Reserve has finally raised interest rates and is ...