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LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) unanimously passed its 2019-2020 district budget of $125,819,978 on Tuesday, resulting in an approximately $89 tax increase to the average Livingston home currently assessed at about $600,000.
According to LBOE Secretary Steven Robinson, the tax impact of less than .1 percent is the lowest that he can recall.
Robinson outlined some of the budget highlights, including $1.1 million in capital expenditures that “include but are not limited to” replacing “a good portion” of the Livingston High School shingle roof; replacing the gym floor at the high school; repaving various blacktops throughout the district; providing air conditioning to district buildings in need; and updating the media centers at Mount Pleasant, Heritage and Burnet Hill schools.
The budget includes $652,000 in curriculum writing, revision and initiatives, according to Robinson, who also noted that the district received $475,000 in state aid this year.
On the technology front, the district has allotted a portion of the budget for the purchase of 2,050 Lenovo 300e (second Generation) 81M9 touch-screen laptop computers in the amount of $946,177.50. The insurance cost to parents will be $45 compared to the $62 fee from the previously used model (the Microsoft Surface).
Included with the laptop but not covered by insurance is a pen and charger, according to Robinson. The new Lenovo was selected for its durability among other features, such as its ability to remain intact if dropped from no more than three feet.
Among the more interesting features of the Lenovo is that a No. 2 pencil can be used to write and take notes on its screen. Given the durability of the computer, the district does not believe that a case will be immediately necessary, but suggested hosting a fundraiser if this proves not to be the case.
Additionally, Robinson said the district is currently hiring four additional full-time staff members at the high school and two at Heritage Middle School in order to reduce existing class sizes. One full-time life skills teacher will be hired for the expansion of the special education program at Heritage Middle School, and one full-time basic skills instructor will be hired for additional services in math.
“This allows for a 1:2 ratio instead of a 1:3 ratio,” said Robinson in connection to math basic skills instruction.
In order to decrease caseloads at Mount Pleasant Middle School, the district is also hiring a full-time nurse along with a resource room teacher. However, the assistant vice principal position at she school is being removed.
“Through repositioning of supervisory offices in buildings, the school is sufficiently supported with one administrator,” the district stated on this subject.
Citing a decline in enrollment, Robinson also announced that one elementary school teacher position is being removed as well. This process will occur through “attrition” according to the district.
More details regarding the budget can be found on the district’s website by clicking HERE.
In other news, LBOE President Charles “Buddy” August announced that the board intends to hire a permanent superintendent “hopefully in the next two weeks.”
“The board has been through an extensive number of interviews,” said Interim Superintendent of Schools James O’Neill. “Finding somebody that has the expertise in areas that were identified early through the public survey poll as well as the priorities that the board identified has made it more difficult. We are down to very few candidates.”
The board hopes to have the new superintendent in place by July 1, but no later than Aug. 1.