ROSELLE PARK, NJ - The Roselle Park 2015-16 school year budget of $33,411,846 was approved by the County Business Administrator and County Superintendent. The last step will be to get the Board’s vote and approval at the next Board of Education meeting on May 12 at Robert Gordon Elementary School, according to Board Secretary Susan Guercio at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Roselle Park’s Board of Education discussed the budget and the factors that contributed to the $20,454,668 tax levy, which increased $814,306 from last year amount. 

This amount includes a 2 %  increase of the  tax levy of $397,807, adjustment for health care cost of $ 201,537 and banked cap for the amount $219,962 as previously reported by

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Guercio later went on to explain the figures on the budget that had the highest dollar amounts.

The largest part of the budget pertains to salaries in the amount of $19,710,481, a 12 % increase is listed under FICA, MED,PERS, and unemployment which represents health care cost, and enrollment, transportation and contracted services.

Guercio explained in the beginning of the budget presentation that contracted services with the budgeted figure of $632,220 includes an educational efficiency study that will examine all of Roselle Park’s school facilities, population and trends to give suggestions on how to operate more efficiently. 

Both residents Jacob Magiera and Saul Qersdyn questioned the cost of the study and Qersdyn questioned the reason for the $75,000 increase from last year's contracted services budget of $557,220

Guercio stated that it is incorrect to assume that all of the $75,000 is for the study and that there are other contracts that have involved in that figure. Superintendent Pedro Garrido estimated the study will cost no more than $25,000. 

Garrido later spoke about the benefits of having the budget in place and the result of budget approval such as maintaining programs as well as class sizes. 

“This is as transparent as we can get, and we want to be transparent,” said Garrido about the budget presentation. “I say that the results of the approval of the budget will have positive impact.”

Another figure that was bought in to question was the plans to purchase a new bus. Magiera asked the board to explain how purchasing a vehicle will reduce transportation costs,

“We are spending close to $300,000 a year for other bus companies to transport our students,” replied Guercio ”so we are hoping to probably realize the savings of close to 100,000 per year in the future”

The community will not vote on the budget. Guercio explained that the budget goes out to the community in a sense though the two financial workshops and three public meetings. 

“The purpose of the workshops and public hearing is to allow the community to give us input” stated Guercio. The final vote of approval will occur on May 12th by the Board at at Robert Gordon Elementary School. 

In other business, a group Roselle Park Middle school students were recognized at the meeting for their participation in a Pen Pal program with special needs students.

Principal Kathleen Carlin mentioned that many of the students have volunteered to be in the program a second time.

Another group of students were also recognized for decorating the lockers of special needs students following the tradition of decorating student’s lockers on special occasions.

Daris Mendez is reporting this story as part of the journalism program at Kean University