Education

Millburn School Board Approves $88.3 Million Budget; Residency Numbers Raise Questions

March 17, 2014 at 10:52 PM

MILLBURN, NJ - The Board of Education on Monday approved a 2014-2015 school budget totaling $88,288,998 to be submitted to the Essex County superintendent of schools for review.

The spending plan would result in an increase in the local tax levy of 2 percent in support of the general fund. Factoring in debt service, the increase would be 1.85 percent. This would result in a 2014 tax rate of $964 per $100 of assessed valuation, increasing the school tax on a property assessed at $1 million by $114 for school purposes, and the school tax on a property assessed at $2 million would increase by $227.

Largest increases in the spending plan include $736,489 more for employee benefits and $135,077 more for special education, while general administration would drop by $284,867 and operation and maintenance by $146,027.

Sign Up for E-News

Commenting on the budget, Budget Committee Chair Emily Jaffe said the committee, in its review of the spending plan, agreed with statements made last week by Superintendent of Schools James Crisfield about the rising costs of employee benefits presenting “structural issues that we, as a community, cannot ignore.”

Jaffe added that innovative budgetary solutions will be needed in the future to meet the issues pointed out by the superintendent.

On another issue however, continuing questions about non-resident students reportedly attending township schools and the costs of these students to the district continued to be raised by residents.

Former board member Josh Scharf, a frequent critic of the school body, said the report done by verifyresidence.com for the board disputed figures cited by property committee chairman John Westfall-Kwong in his report of last week which said there were potentially only 52 non-resident students attending Millburn schools.

The summary of the verifyresidence.com report, obtained by Scharf from the school district under the state's open public records act, compared student-supplied addresses with two major database aggregators and the United States Postal Service-National Change of Address Database.

In the first database, there were 3,740 matches between the provided address and the database, 541 where the provided address did not match the address in the database and 693 instances where there was no name in the database associated with the provided address.

In the second database, there were 3,070 matches, 675 instances where the provided address did not match the address in the database and 1,229 instances where there was no name in the database associated with the provided address.

The postal service database contained 43 “no matches” of which eight were complete “family” change of addresses.

According to the report, “no match,” in addition to the provided name not being associated with the provided address, also could result from the person with the name provided moving within the school district without notifying school authorities, the provided name may not include the most current married name, the provided name was misspelled, hyphenated or missing or the provided address was misspelled or incorrectly submitted.

Reasons for “no record,” according to the report, might include the fact that no record existed for the name provided or there was no matching record on file of the provided address being associated with the name provided.

The report continued, “A 'No Match' designation does not necessarily mean or confirm an out-of-district student status, rather that further inquiry is required to determine the reason for the no match. This is often the case with typos in the sumission, very young parents, single parents, and student parents who may still be living at home or with other family members.”

Scharf said the budget was directly related to enrollment and the numbers in the report continued to raise concerns, brought before the board in the last few months about “who is here and who is not.”

He added that, despite implications by Crisfield that issues about non-residency were being raised because certain nationalities were not welcomed in the township, even people with Asian surnames who made comments about a petition to change school residency policies were upset that people were “gaming the system” and asked that fraud be prevented.

Scharf also said that, although he also came across “false positives” in dealing with many databases in his business, he did investigate those readings further.

Former board member Lise Chapman also said the board should investigate items raised in the report further. She also took issue with a statement in a letter to parents by the superintendent this week that a change in policy toward those students who move out of the district in the middle of school year only would affect about 10 students.

Chapman also urged the school body members who had not seen a copy of the verifyresidency report to do so, and added that the board members should realize it was the duty of the superintendent of schools, not the board, to enforce residency policy.

However, Sheila Bari of Falmouth Street said discussions of the relatively minor issue of non-resident students had taken up an inordinate amount of time that the board should spend discussing more important issues.

Lauren Hollender, co-president of the Deerfield School Parent Teacher Organization, congratulated the board on keeping the tax increase at 2 percent.

She also said that it was unfair to treat those who moved out of the district in February as “persona non grata” the minute they were out the door.

However, former board member Noreen Brunini warned there was a financial cost for allowing non-resident students to attend schools in the township and this cost was not a small amount, especially in light of choices the district had been forced to make since 2010 in the face of declining revenues.

On another matter, former board member Abby Kalan and Chapman wanted to know why a curriculum supervisor position, at a cost of about $130,000, was being included in the budget.

Kalan wanted to know what responsibilities would remain for assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction Christine Burton in light of the new position and why Millburn felt compelled to institute the position when districts with similar obligations had not instituted similar positions.

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 Youth Baseball Registration Ends This Friday

December 6, 2016

2017 League Registration ends this week! Boys and Girls are welcome!

Youth League (First Grade through Age 12) and Senior League (Ages 12-15) Registration is now live at MSHYB.com. Visit the league website for details. Youth League Registration closes THIS FRIDAY - 12/9! 

Final In-Person Registration Session This Saturday

If you are NEW to the league (Welcome!), ...

Thank You Millburn Veterans!

November 10, 2016

Dear TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills Editor,

The Millburn High School SAVe Warriors Club wants to thank each and every veteran who joined us on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at Millburn High School for lunch. It was truly an honor to host you, shake your hands and express our gratitude for serving our great country.

We would also like to thank Dr. Burton, Dr. Miron, Mr. Friedrich and the wonderful ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3a5c6ca205c361bf2354_48e05c573f0465255078_89849d2f6aae0885204501e947b4042f

Thu, December 8, 8:45 AM

Deerfield Elementary School, Short Hills

Come Shop at the Deerfield Holiday Boutique!

Education

Thu, December 8, 10:00 AM

South Orange Performing Arts Center, South Orange

Nutcracker

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_b8946d33f78b5d826c4d_8337faabeb4b01048173_best_bfa40c81a3ffed91b80d_adfd3b3d2262e864f3a0_judith_krall-russo__horizon_speakers_bureau_for_hcc_hc_4_12_2016

Thu, December 8, 11:00 AM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Winter Holidays Food Lecture with Judith ...

Education Food & Drink

Millburn Township Notice of Pending Bond Ordinance and Summary

December 7, 2016

MILLBURN TOWNSHIP NOTICE NOTICE OF PENDING BOND ORDINANCE AND SUMMARY

Ordinance #2472-16

The bond ordinance, the summary terms of which are included herein, was introduced and passed upon first reading at a meeting of the Township Committee of the Township of Millburn, in the County of Essex, State of New Jersey, on December 6, 2016.  It will be further considered for final ...

Mid-Winter Camp is Back at the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary in Short Hills

Mid-Winter Camp: February 20th - 24th, 2017. 

Turtle Tots Mid-Winter Camp: (3 - 5 year olds):  9;00 am - 12 noon

Explorers Mid-Winter Camp (1st - 3rd Graders)

Stay warm during Winter Break as we explore the Arboretum with our snow boots and gloves on!  Children will enjoy some fun in the winter weather while learning about some of the curiosities of the winter season.

Leonard Lance and Congress Send Two Bills to POTUS Honoring WW II Heroes

WASHINGTON, DC- It was 7:48 a.m. in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii when the planes arrived. Our troops awoke to a barrage from hundreds of Japanese aircraft overhead. But they didn’t panic or hide—they fought back.

We lost 2,400 Americans that day. These brave men and women died, like many before and after them, fighting to protect our freedoms. The attack may have sunk ...

Vehicle Vandalized in Short Hills Apartment Complex

December 6, 2016

On November 29, 2016 Millburn Police Officer Royce stopped a 2010 Toyota on Glen/Marion for an inoperable headlight. The investigation led to the arrest of the 55 year old driver Laquentin Walker out of Teaneck on an outstanding traffic warrant out of Deptford. Mr. Walker was released with a new court date.

On November 30, 2016 Millburn Police Officer Royce stopped a 2012 Dodge Charger on Rt ...

Millburn/Short Hills Chamber to Host Business Cocktail Networking Event in Downtown Millburn

MILLBURN, NJ – The Millburn/Short Hills Chamber of Commerce is the preeminent organization to advocate and promote business in Millburn Township. The Chamber organizes events throughout the year to bring together business people and organizations interested in making Millburn a vibrant community to live and work.

Led by Chamber president Rick Davis, a Millburn resident and CFO at St.

To Be a Better Investor, Be More Rational!

Many posit the theory of rational man, who coolly and carefully calculates his self-interest in a logical manner. We all fall somewhat short of that ideal.  In the financial markets, irrationality can be costly. What are some of the common foibles, and what can we do to minimize their damage to our portfolios?

Don’t Make Decisions Based on What You Paid For an Investment

How ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

Q/A With Owners of Meadowbrook Country Day Camp

Recently, the owners of Meadowbrook Country Day Camp, Dan Milman and George Stein, took part in a fun Question and Answer session. Below are the questions and their responses. To learn more about Milman, Stein and Meadowbrook, click here to read a recent article that ran on TApinto.net.

WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD CAMP, WHAT VISUAL COMES TO MIND?

George: A six lb.