SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Board of Education will be holding a remote special meeting to discuss changes to the district budget.The public can join the meeting:

  • Join with Google Hangouts using this link
  • To join the meeting by phone, call: 1-435-414-1372
  • PIN # to join the call when prompted: 590982513

At the March board of education meeting the budget was introduced. Board members had discussed their concerns about a number of capital project, a staffing initiative and the lack of educational programming. 

“If this budget is not fixed by April 29, I will be voting against it,” board president Kim Bragg said in a statement about the budget.  “I came here tonight fully expecting to vote against the preliminary budget.  If it were not for the crisis caused by the coronavirus I would be voting no tonight.  For me, there is not enough in this budget regarding curriculum.  Per Dr. Rossi, this is a facilities-heavy budget.  There are no new curricular endeavors…” 

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The board voted unanimously to approve submitting the preliminary budget to the state for initial review.  The board is scheduled to hold the Budget Hearing at the April 27 meeting.  

New Jersey Department of Education Budget Dates:

  • Public hearing must be between April 24 and May 7
  • User Friendly Budget must be posted on district website between April 26 and May 9
  • Final budget must be adopted by May 14,
  • Non-tenured teaching staff must be notified about continuation of employment by May 15
  • Certification of school tax levy must be done by May 19

Proposed legislation A 3902 could potentially disrupt the current budget, causing the need for unanticipated cuts or the need to borrow funds to cover district expenses. The bill would allow for municipalities to delay quarterly tax disbursements to school districts, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill unanimously passed in the assembly with a 79-0 vote on March 25. It is unclear if the senate will introduce or support a companion bill. Both the senate and assembly will meet on Monday to entertain a number of COVID-19 related bills.

Should it become law it could have significant impact on the Sparta schools because approximately 87% of the budget comes from local property taxes.  In other districts that receive a greater percentage in state aid, the impact might not be as significant.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.