MILLBURN, NJ - Superintendent of Millburn Schools Dr. Christine Burton presented a more detailed budget presentation at the most recent Board of Education meeting as a follow up to the initial budget presentation in late January. Along with Ms. Cheryl Schneider, Burton presented the budget priorities, revenue assumptions, highlights, and timeline. She also addressed questions raised from the initial presentation.
After the approval of the Referendum, Burton and the Board designated the newly acquired fifth-grade Washington School the main priority for the 2017-2018 budget. Along with additional cost for transportation, maintenance and utilities of the grounds factor heavily into the budget. This allows for the fifth-grade students to have access to up-to-date facilities and for the district to rent out the space to separate municipalities.
Mr. Peter Mercurio, the current principal of Wyoming Elementary, was already named to assume the helm at Washington School. With that, the budget will factor in a replacement for Mercurio at Wyoming and provides for three additional custodians, more secretaries, an extra nurse and other essential personnel.
The budget presentation also highlighted initial implementation of Chromebooks into grades five, six, and nine across the district. Depending on age, students will be permitted to leave school grounds with their assigned Chromebooks. Younger students will be required to keep their Chromebooks on school grounds. Millburn Middle School is implementing a new wireless system which also factored into budget discussions.
Grades K-5 are required to implement the Next Generation Science Standards by September 2017, Burton and Schneider also highlighted curriculum writing and professional development in the budget presentation.
The Board discussed a "facelift" for the Middle School bridge, and hope to share the cost of renovation with the Township, as residents often do use the bridge to cross the street; especially Papermill Playhouse audience members.
It is unclear what percentage of the budget will be funded by state aid. Since 2012-2013, the state has accounted for roughly 3% of the annual budget. Burton and Schneider speculate the state will grant the same amount of state aid this year as they did in 2016-2017 ($2,541,217.00). However, the amount of state aid coming to Millburn is announced following Governor Christie's budget address on February 28. The majority of the budget (94%) will be funded by the total tax levy.
Millburn must adopt a budget plan on May 12th following county review, public hearings and further refinements.