SUMMIT, NJ - At a special emergency meeting on Monday afternoon, the Summit Board of School Estimate unanimously approved a $62,194,304 tentative budget which was submitted to Union County on Monday evening. The proposed budget would raise taxes by about 5.8 percent for the fiscal year, according to Board of School Estimate Acting Chairperson Eleanor Doyle who spoke on the issue before nearly 100 Summit residents at the Wilson Primary Center. She also stressed that the budget could change over the next week before the final Board of School Estimate meeting on March 31.
Nothing specific in the budget was addressed at Monday afternoon's meeting, although Doyle said that for now, many of the Summit school system's core programs and staff members will not be impacted by the nearly $2.6 million dollar loss in state aid. "Our goal, which has been our goal since the beginning of the budget process, is to do what we can to maintain the integrity and quality of our programs," Doyle said.
There is no indication that Summit will be receiving state aid in future years, Doyle said. She added that the amount of money that Summit's public schools currently have slated for surplus is only two percent. Since the tentative budget cuts roughly $1.4 million out of the original budget it would be smart not to use the small amount of surplus money in an attempt to balance the state aid reduction, according to Doyle.
Residents at the meeting expressed their frustration about the budget. President of the Summit Educational Foundation Nora Radest said that the public is not being made aware of enough specifics about budget cuts and what aspects of the schools will be impacted. "There are not a lot of questions because there are not a lot of specifics," Radest said.
Doyle said that if the 5.8 percent tax levy is not approved, many other programs in the schools will be cut. At this time it is not known what programs will be cut if this happens, according to Doyle.