ROSELLE PARK, NJ – Roselle Park Board of Education members held the district’s first public budget workshop for the 2017 to 2018 school year at their meeting on Tuesday to give residents an overview of the budget process to date while highlighting some district expenditures and revenues.

School Business Administrator and Board Secretary Susan Guercio took to the floor to provide an explanation of how the budget process works.

“The budget process starts in district in December in which all administrators work up their own individual budgets for their particular buildings or areas they oversee and submit those to me in January,” said Guercio.  

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All school districts must submit a tentative budget to the county office by March 20, 2017 which approved or disapproved by April 24, 2017. 

“99.9% of our staff are all part of collective bargaining agreements so therefor I know exactly what that person is scheduled to make in the following year because that contract exists and then I then input all of that information to come up with accurate estimates for salaries,” said Guercio.

According to the contracts Roselle Park Board of Education has with its staff, the collective bargaining increase for the following school year will come to $505,015. Health insurance will not be increasing next year due to the negotiated change in health benefits that are less costly to both the school district and the employee now that employees have to contribute.

“The school district always looks to continue growth and improve its programs, buildings, and facilities,” said Guercio.

Roselle Park plans to enter into a lease purchase to borrow $400,000 that will be paid off in four years, the first payment being $100,000, that will improve technology in the elementary schools with a supply of iPads, laptops, and smart boards and purchase textbooks and new equipment such as furniture and a new generator for the high school.  

A project that is scheduled for this upcoming summer will be a partial roof replacement at the middle school due to leak problems experienced over the last few years and will be funded through a $600,000 withdrawal from capital and maintenance reserve which is accumulated over the years without impacting the tax payer. 

“The reason it’s called partial is because approximately ten years ago we put additions on the middles schools,” said Guercio. “Those additions have brand new roofs in good shape and do not need to be repaired.  Only the old part of the roof needs repair which is long over warrantee.”

Roselle Park has received flat state aid for next school year which means the district will receive no additional aid to the amount received last year even though costs are slightly increasing. There will be a slight increase in Medicaid reimbursement by the state government and anticipated federal grant money for special needs students. 

“Space and staff are issues we have,” said Superintendent of Schools Pedro Garrdio.  “But in the past three years we’ve opened two autistic classes.” Garrido also said, he plans on bringing back out of district students to help cut costs.

“On March 14, will be our second public workshop and will have a more in-depth presentation on the budget as we gather more information through the entire process including more on the total tax levy, expenditures and revenues,” said Roselle Park Board of Education Member Rodric Bowman. 

*David Long is reporting this story as part of the journalism program at Kean University.

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