MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A special meeting of the South Orange and Maplewood Board of Education was held on Wednesday, Feb. 20.  At this workshop session, the District Superintendent’s proposed budget was the main focus of discussion.  According to Superintendent Brian G. Osborne, this year’s budget calls for some tough choices and requires cognizance “of the continuing economic climate.”

The Board set out a variety of student learning goals for the near future.  Augmentation of AP and web-oriented classes at the high school level, and promotion of the IB Middle Years Program, were a few major objectives.  The Board also prioritized energy efficiency and transportation efficiency measures.

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Although the Board expects a drop-off in state and federal aid, it is expected that the District’s 2013-2014 revenue will be roughly $2 million greater than its 2012-2013 revenue.  The projected expenditure increase for the year ahead will be about $3.37 million.  It is expected that households in the district will see an $18 tax increase in order to facilitate the budget measures.

There will be a few other practical changes for South Orange and Maplewood families in the near future.  The Board is planning to offer digitized student progress reports and report cards, though this service will be optional and subscription-based.

The year ahead may also see a partnership between the District and Teachers College at Columbia University.  The Board of Education is interested in providing professional development support in the discipline of writing.  In addition, a social worker position will be added at the elementary school level.  This new opening will allow school principals to focus less on day-to-day discipline and help them to focus on refining education and administration.

The next public session of the Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, February 25, at 7:30 p.m.  For more information about the 2013-2014 budget, visit the school district's budget webpage.