Rumor: The Board of Education (BOE) paid for the lawn signs throughout town.
Fact: Community members formed the “Nutley Now Referendum 2017 Committee.” Private citizens made individual donations to a NJ Elec (Election Law Enforcement Commission) account. The funds raised paid for the printing of the lawn signs. The Nutley Public Schools did not pay for the lawn signs.
Rumor: This Board of Education will handle this referendum just like all past Boards have handled previous referendums.
Fact: The discussion of previous referendums has continued to be challenging for all of the current Board of Education members. The past practice of prior board membership not only challenged the integrity of those boards, but also eroded the public's trust with the way certain aspects were handled involving conflicts of interest and ethics violations, and including involvement in "directing" day-to day operations, which is not the role of the Board. The last referendum was approved by the community in 2006 and in the following 11 years, the membership of the BOE has changed dramatically. Additionally, through changes in policy and practice the BOE has now shifted to its appropriate role, as stated by the NJ School Boards Association of, "setting the policies, goals and objectives for the district – and holding the superintendent responsible for implementing the policies and achieving the goals." This has been a huge change, and coupled with our commitment to transparency and communication, we have been working hard to earn the community’s trust.
Rumor: The Board of Education is ill-equipped to manage construction projects of this magnitude.
Fact: The BOE is advised by an external team. As part of the costs associated with the referendum, the district has budgeted for an outside construction management firm to manage these projects. With a build of this size, there has to be independent oversight. Hiring is done through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process which will be public. Additionally, our Architect of Record regularly handles construction projects of this size and we are confident in their representation and guidance.
Rumor: The Board of Education can use the referendum money in any way they see appropriate.
Fact: Any money included in this referendum is for the specific use of these proposed building projects and is under the purview of the NJ Department of Education. Neither the BOE nor the town leadership have the ability to change what has been approved, or the outcome of the community vote on December 12.
Rumor: The Board of Education and administration do not work with the town government.
Fact: The BOE, administration, and town government work together and communicate on a continuous basis. In addition to purchasing the Davis property and providing parking at JHWMS, when transitional aid was pulled from Nutley this fall, by the State of NJ, the commissioners and Board of Education worked together to make up for the loss in aid so that residents would not see a (significant) tax increase. Additionally, both participate in a number of shared services to allow us to accomplish more than we could in our individual capacities.
Rumor: The Township of Nutley and the Board of Education are part of the same budget.
Fact: The Township of Nutley and the Board of Education have completely separate budgets. Neither has oversight in the other’s budget or budget development process. The school district budget is not voted on by the public as long as the total remains under the 2% cap annually, as per the state regulations.