Huge Turnout for Sparta Board of Education Budget Meeting: Outpouring of Support for Music Teacher

Sparta Business Administrator Barbara Decker and Dr Daniel Johnson Assistant Superintendent, present the 2016-2017 budget Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Big crowd turned out for the Sparta Board of Education meeting Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Standing room only at the Sparta Board of Education budget meeting  Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – It was standing-room only at the Sparta Board of Education meeting on Monday night. Approximately 200 students, parents, teachers and residents packed the auditorium of Mohawk Avenue School to listen and be heard about the 2016-2017 school budget.  Most were there to voice support for the strings teacher at Helen Morgan school whose position is slated to be cut for next year.

Superintendent Dennis Tobin, Business Administrator Barbara Decker and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Daniel Johnson reviewed the budget presentation given at the February meeting. 

The anticipated revenue is $61,892,603. Of that, 89 percent comes from local tax levy, 10 percent from state aid and one percent from Fund Balance, Decker said.

Sign Up for E-News

Tobin explained the goals for creating the budget were to “maintain all programming and maintain class size.” He said they had met those goals. 

As reported last month, the first draft of the budget required eliminating nearly $1.8 million to meet expected revenue. At the heart of the cuts were staff reductions "across all areas," according to Tobin.

The staff reductions will include:

  • two general education teachers and an Instructional Intervention teacher at Alpine school,
  • two general education teachers at Helen Morgan,
  • one guidance counselor and one media center specialist at Mohawk Avenue School,
  • one music teacher and one physical education teacher “districtwide”
  • a guidance counselor, social studies teacher, custodian and Mandarin Chinese teacher at Sparta High School
  • half of a secretary position at the board of education offices
  • two additional secretaries
  • half of a custodian position
  • a curriculum supervisor

Tobin explained the music teacher and physical education teacher are considered “district wide cuts because of their certification.”

Other cuts proposed:

  • Eliminate/Delay 1:1 initiative at Sparta High School and Sparta Middle School
  • Reduce overload stipends at Sparta High School and Sparta Middle School
  • Decrease Athletics/Co-Curricular funds
  • Reduce Special Education Purchased Professional Services
  • Reduction in supplies at Sparta Middle School and Alpine
  • Reduction in Unemployment Trust Transfer

Decker explained the township had recently done a reevaluation of property values that resulted in an increase in the average assessed home from $262,600 last year to $371,031 this year.  The tax impact of the levy increase from the school budget is an increase of $174.26 per year or $14.52 per month per average home.  That includes the general fund budget and debt service.

For two and a half hours people came to the microphone, primarily addressing the board about the proposed cuts.  Many of the people in attendance were there to share concerns about the impact of cutting the strings teacher at Helen Morgan school, most of them were music students.  Parents and board members alike commented on the students' behavior. They agreed the comments were respectful, passionate and well thought out.  The students had prepared statements, which they delivered with poise and confidence one parent said.

A member of the public commented that “the students were impressive and made Sparta proud.”

Their message was clear; the board members needed to reconsider eliminating Chryselle Angderson’s position.

It was after 10 p.m. when the board went through the agenda, finally getting to the proposed budget.  Tobin explained the board needed to approve a budget to submit to the Executive Superintendent Dr. Rosalie Lamonte by next Tuesday.  If they decided not to approve the proposed budget they would have to hold a special meeting before Tuesday to approve a budget. 

If they were not able to approve a budget by Tuesday, then Lamonte “would get control of the budget” and make the decisions for them. 

Further, he explained, if they did approve the proposed budget that night they would still be able to change it.  They could discuss possible amendments in their upcoming -committee meetings.  Any changes would be reflected in the budget presented at the Budget Hearing meeting scheduled for April 25. 

The public will still have the opportunity to comment on the budget prior to the board members' vote on the final budget to be submitted to the state.

The resolution was passed with seven members voting yes, Brenda Beebe was the only no vote.





TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Rear End Collision After Two Mimosas Too Many

February 22, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A car accident on Winona Parkway left two Sparta residents injured and another facing driving while intoxicated charges.  On February 18 around 7:49 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Steven Guido went to the scene of the accident along with Sgt. Schomp and Cpl. Antonello, police report.

Lisa Degraw, 55 had run into the back of Mark Iussig, 41 who was stopped at the red light ...

Sparta Police: Traffic Stop Yields Pile of Tickets and Active Warrants

SPARTA, NJ – A Newton woman, pulled over for a broken tail light on her black Kia ended up in custody.  On February 16 around 12:50 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Thomas Herd stopped Meagan Klein, 44, on Route 15, police report.

Herd also found the car’s registration was expired.  The car was not insured and Klein’s license was suspended.  The passenger, ...

First Hand Account: Shouts of Racial Slurs Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, February 24, 7:00 PM

The Prudential Center, Newark

Sparta Education Foundation Night Out with the NJ ...

Giving Back Sports


Tue, February 27, 6:30 PM

Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta

Girl Scout STEAM Program

Arts & Entertainment Education


Fri, March 2, 7:00 PM

Wallkill Valley Regional High School, Hamburg

The Drowsy Chaperone

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, March 3, 7:00 AM

First United Methodist Church, Newton

Newton Rotary Pancake Breakfast

Food & Drink


Sat, March 3, 7:00 PM

Wallkill Valley Regional High School, Hamburg

The Drowsy Chaperone

Arts & Entertainment

Paterson's Poet Laureate

February 13, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- The City of Paterson has given birth to famous athletes, business leaders, actors, and now, a poet laureate.

Born and raised in Paterson, Talena Lachelle Queen told TAPinto Paterson that she has been writing since she was five-years old, and, as she grew older, realized that when it came to pursuing studies and a career in writing, she “didn’t have a choice.” ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Where Does YOUR School District Rank in Safety?

Family safety remains paramount when it comes to choosing a new home and community in New Jersey, so Team Nest Builder wants to help you know where top local school districts rank., which specializes in all different types of consumer rankings, provided a list of the safest school districts in the United States and New Jersey. Below find a list of the 200 safest school ...

Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying or Selling in NJ

Team Nest Builder knows that whether you are buying or selling a New Jersey home it can be quite the adventure, which is why you need an experienced real estate professional to guide you on the path to achieving your ultimate goal. But in this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can ‘For Sale by Owner’ or ...

Does Marriage or Mortgage Come First?

According to the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics in 2017 at 57% of all buyers. Team Nest Builder knows it's no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more ...

Height during childhood associated with increased stroke risk in adulthood

Researchers in Denmark studied the health records of more than 300,000 people born between 1930 and 1989 and found that those who were shorter than average height between ages 7 and 13 had a greater risk of stroke as adults. The results of this study were published in the February 15, 2018 issue of the journal Stroke.


Journal ...

Very Hot Tea Increases Cancer Risk

Researchers in China studying the consumption of “burning” hot tea, alcohol, and smoking habits of greater than 450,000 people ages 30 –79 for more than nine years found a five time greater risk of esophageal cancer in those who engaged in all three of the behaviors and a two time greater risk in those who either smoked or drank alcohol and consumed burning hot tea as compared ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders February 14 2018 Meeting Video

NEWTON, NJ - Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders February 14 2018 Meeting Video 


Sparta UMC Thrift Shop Holds Bag Sale

February 22, 2018

The Thrift Shop of the Sparta United Methodist Church, 71 Sparta Avenue, is holding a bag sale from Wednesday, MARCH 14TH through Saturday, MARCH 17TH.  Most items in the shop that can fit in a grocery bag can be purchased for $5 per bag. Shop Hours:  Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  All proceeds support local, national, and global ...