Education

Berkeley Heights Board of Education Approves Tentative Budget

e5f49ce0933f9857553c_BHBoE.JPG
Superintendent Judith Rattner, left, and Board Secretary/School Business Administrator Donna Felezzola present the tentative 2013-14 school budget at the Board of Education meeting on Thursday night. Credits: Deb Dawson
e5f49ce0933f9857553c_BHBoE.JPG

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The Berkeley Heights Board of Education unanimously approved the tentative budget for the 2013-14 school year at its meeting on Thursday, March 7. The budget now goes to the county superintendent of schools. A public hearing will be held on March 27 at 7 p.m. at Columbia Middle School.

The total budget less debt service is $44,100,907, a 2.6 percent increase over the 2012-13 budget. The amount to be collected through taxes is $36,188,642. That is a 2 percent increase over the current year’s budget. Last year, the amount to be collected by taxes decreased by 1.8 percent. The tax rate is expected to go from $2.108 per $100 of assessed value to $2.111 per $100. The total impact on the average homeowner is expected to be about $6 per year. During the current year, the tax rate was reduced, with the average homeowner receiving a $17 reduction in the school tax.

The school board was expecting a $224,000 cut in state aid, but received exactly $1 more that it received last year -- $1,123,171. Items that had been cut from the budget prior to receiving the state aid figure, were added back in, including a technology consultant to help with the new iPad initiative at Governor Livingston.

Every student at Governor Livingston and every teacher in the district will have an iPad next year. There will also be an increased number of iPads at other schools. Educational applications for the iPads will be purchased as well. The total cost for the iPads will be $753,156, paid for over a three year period. The amount expected to be spent in 2013-14 is $251,052.

Other technology improvements include upgrades to the network infrastructure and the installation of fiber optics. The total amount to be expended for district routers and power over Ethernet and network switches is $170,874. A district wireless controller and 65 access points at Governor Livingston will cost $107,000. Internet and Inter-school connections will cost a total of $456,955 over a period of three years with the annual cost at $92,391. IPad applications will cost $30,000. Professional development to teach the teachers to use the iPads successfully is estimated at $15,000. And additional personnel for the technology initiative will be $68,000.

Much of the technology upgrade will be paid for by a withdrawal from the capital reserve of $375,164. It should be noted that about $375,000 was deposited into the capital reserve in the 2012-13 budget.

Also in the budget is an increase for instructional review (remediation) costs to get students ready for state tests; two new in-district special education programs – a new ADA program at McMillin and community-based instruction for Governor Livingston students; security and safety upgrades in the form of additional cameras and a change to all elementary school keys and doorknobs; and ongoing capital projects – largely classroom
upgrades and things to deal with health and safety issues. All of the foregoing will cost about $700,000.

Other new initiatives include changing to a rotate and drop schedule at Columbia Middle School and the implementation of new teacher and principal evaluation systems.

The district is also saving money. The installation of solar panels at the high school and Woodruff yields energy savings of four percent at the high school and 16 percent at Woodruff. Utility costs are expected to be further reduced by participating in cooperative purchasing programs. And, employee contributions to health benefits will save about $500,000 in the 2013-14 school year, increasing to $1 million the following year.

The cost per pupil in Berkeley Heights is $13,262 as compared to $13,946 statewide and $13,266 in New Providence, $13,450 in Madison and $14,292 in Summit.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Health Alert from Borough of Warchung

April 22, 2018

A kitten from a colony of free-roaming cats in an isolated area in the vicinity of New Providence Road was recently found deceased. Testing revealed that the kitten was infected by rabies. All known exposures to humans have been addressed and there are no known exposures to resident pets. If anyone has knowledge of exposures to cats in this area please notify the health department at ...

Students become composers, lyricists, writers in Musical Theater Company

BERKELEY HEIGHTS—Over the past few months, students in the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) Musical Theater Company have been writing their own full length musical using stories from the Grimm Brothers to be showcased in two performances on June 9 in Wharton’s black box theatre. With the help of instructors Timothy Maureen Cole and David Seamon, the cast is using fairy ...

Tickets On Sale Now for “An Evening Of Shining Stars” at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway on May 4

RAHWAY, NJ - One of the area's most anticipated events - "An Evening of Shining Stars" - featuring members of the special needs community from Cranford and around Union County will take place 7 p.m. Friday, May ...

Politics IS Government in Union County

April 22, 2018

After Bruce Patrson of Garwood was stopped from speaking at the Union County freeholder meeting of March 22 regarding the politics behind refusing to give the party line to a sitting freeholder I thought this brazen suppression of free speech could not go unanswered. A the the April 19 meeting I answered with these comments.

After ten years of following government in Union County I conclude ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Fueled partially by their disappointment that students were not allowed to leave school for the nationwide student protest last month, student leaders planned a rally Friday on the nineteenth anniversary of the Columbine massacre in Colorado. At 4:30 p.m., students, parents, families, community members met at Chisholm Community Center to register voters, make ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 26, 7:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Outsmart the Scammers

Education Law & Justice

Carousel_image_4b4bef174301461e6e3a_81afd120e2a1e04c4169_2015_hotdogs

Fri, April 27, 7:30 PM

MONDO & Summit Area YMCA, Summit

Movie Night at Mondo "Food Evolution"

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Sat, April 28, 7:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Plainfield Symphony Mahler's 9th Symphony

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, April 29, 1:00 PM

The Monninger Center/The Orangerie at Fairleigh Dickinson University Madison Campus, Madison

Sculpting the Land - Creating Gilded Age Gardens

Education Green Home & Garden

Sun, April 29, 3:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Sunday Concert @NPML: The Concord Singers

Arts & Entertainment