LINDEN, NJ - The final school budget for the Linden Public School District was unanimously approved during a virtual conferencing hearing on April 30, according to Gregory R. Martucci, Board of Education President.

The entire board authorized Business Administrator/Board Secretary Kathleen A. Gaylord to forward the final operating budget of $138,471,468 to the executive county superintendent for approval.

The budget contains no tax increase, zero debt service, and no loss of services or positions. Martucci credited Gaylord and her staff for developing a budget that is “fiscally sound” and serves the students, staff, parents, and taxpayers.

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The budget includes capital projects including roof replacements at Linden High School and Soehl Middle School and renovation of the guidance office at Linden High School. Bathroom renovations will continue at Soehl Middle School and various other schools. Also included is air conditioning at Schools No. 1, No. 4, and No. 10; new boilers at McManus Middle School and School No. 5; purchase of land for the proposed Linden High School freshman academy; and renovation of Tiger Stadium at Cooper Field. In addition, a generator will be installed at the Administrative Building to create a command center in case of emergencies.

“There have been some rumors circling the city regarding the Cooper Field renovation project,” Gaylord said. “This project was put into place after we were advised two years ago that the field would not be safe for students after last year’s season. It would not pass the mandated Compaction Test required for safe play.”

Martucci reiterated, “For the safety of our students and residents this issue needed to be addressed. Cooper Field is utilized by both the school district and the city. The city sponsors activities such as Pop Warner, summer camps, the Linden Youth Soccer League, the Linden Police Department for their annual Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt. Both the Linden Fire Department and Linden Police Department also use the field for recruiting purposes.”

Gaylord further said, “The procurement for this renovation was done through the state-approved Educational Services Commission of New Jersey Co-op. We used the Co-op because it offered Field Turf, which is the same company used by the City of Linden to construct the original field fifteen years ago.”

Martucci credited the collective efforts of the central administration staff and the board to be able to work within the framework and submit a budget with no tax increase, while maintaining and ensuring the safety of all students, proceeding with fiscal responsibility, and fair treatment to all schools.

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