MADISON, NJ - Tuesday night, the Board of Education unanimously approved and adopted the 2019-2020 School District Budget as previously approved by the Madison BOE and approved by the Executive County Superintendent of Schools. Superintendent Schwarz again presented the budget as he did at a hearing on April 25 and, before a much smaller audience, the BOE adopted the budget as presented. The budget can be seen as an attachment to the agenda of the April 25 hearing, which is on the BOE website. BOE President Leslie Lajewski advised the audience that there was no recording of the April 25th meeting because of a technical problem.
After the budget passed, members of the BOE explained that the budget process was very difficult and as Johanna Habib stated “she did not sleep well this month during this process.” Several members stressed that they take their board responsibilities very seriously. Habib said that the budget has risks and is budgeted “to the max.” She added that it has minimal flexibility for the unexpected. Member Pam Yousey stated that she has listened to residents’ concerns and has talked to Superintendent Schwarz about issues such as the need for a new guidance counselor and diversity in hiring. She acknowledges that “change is difficult and is part of a grief process.” President Lajewski said she has spent 30-35 hours a week on Board work, which she does with passion. She stated “we are blessed to find money to put it (budget) together every year.” Member Sarah Fischer expressed her admiration for the Board’s focus always on the interests of the students. She pointed out two causes to celebrate: the successful work by the girls’ ice hockey team to become a school supported team and rebuilding of trust in the special education community. Member Heather Reddy pointed out that every member has a child in the district and that changes are real and personal.
The Board also approved the High School Athletic Facility Renovations Base Bid in the amount of $2,459,000. This will cover work on the team room, trainer room, and lockers but not work on the expanding the fitness room which would require depleting the capital reserve.