Education

Summit Council, Mayor See Full-Day Kindergarten as Too Costly for Taxpayers

January 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM

SUMMIT, NJ—A majority of the Summit Common Council and Mayor Ellen Dickson on Monday said the proposal by the city’s board of education for a full-day kindergarten funded by taxpayer dollars is too expensive, especially in light of a difficult economic climate, the expected cost of cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy, continuing county tax increases and the recent increases in the federal payroll tax.

The school board will sponsor a “town hall” forum on its proposal on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Jefferson Primary Center. A panel will discuss the proposal and a question-and-answer period will follow.

According to recent estimates by the education body, the capital cost of improving the Jefferson and Wilson Primary Centers to accommodate the expanded program plus the additional staffing needed should total about $11.4 million, with about 40 percent of the capital costs paid for by state grants.

Sign Up for E-News

The school board places the cost to the average Summit taxpayer, with a home assessed at $410,000, at $140 per year. Bonding for the capital costs is expected to take 15 or 16 years to pay off.

However, at Tuesday’s common council meeting Councilman and board of school estimate member Robert Rubino said the total cost to the average taxpayer, with pension and other benefits added in could amount to $400 per year.

Rubino added, with the restoration of the full cost of federal payroll taxes and taxes on capital gains, Summit residents cannot afford the additional cost of fullday kindergarten.

Noting most of the city’s residents do not have children in the school system, he pointed out that having full-day kindergarten as the only option would restrict the choices of parents wishing to keep their children in a half-day program and the money spent on a full-day program could be used better in reducing the challenges of larger class size to be faced by Summit’s schools in the future.

In the overall scheme of life, the councilman asked, will fullday kindergarten be of that great a benefit to the city’s children.

Councilman David Bomgaars, who chairs the governing body’s finance committee, said the school district has not yet given him the full fiscal data he is seeking on the cost of the expanded program.

Bomgaars, a former six-year school body member and former president of the board, added that the timing of the proposal is wrong in the light of the cost of cleaning up after Sandy.

He also said Summit, with a cost of $8,467 per pupil, ranks among the most expensive school systems in Union County.

Bomgaars said the city’s schools should pay more attention to the trend of the times which is “to spend less and share services.”

“I am extremely concerned about the proposal from both a tax and a cost perspective,” said Councilman Patrick Hurley, “especially in light of the fact that Summit is one of the communities most severely affected by income redistribution.”

Councilman Thomas Getzendanner noted that three years ago the board quoted the cost of providing a tuition-based full-day kindergarten program at $7,500. He has consistently advocated that any full-day program should be paid for by tuition coming from the parents whose children attend the program.

Getzendanner added a tuition-based program would provide the school body with another source on non-tax revenue in an era during which state school aid is very uncertain.

“The schools are under many pressures,” Mayor Ellen Dickson said, “but we have reached a tipping point with the cost of county government crowding us out of our power to tax.”

The mayor added that the institution of a free, public school fullday kindergarten program could endanger many of the fine non-profit programs offered by such Summit institutions as Connections and the YMCA.

Councilman Albert Dill, Jr. added that fullday public kindergarten would provide a benefit in the present for which Summit taxpayers would be paying for 15 or 16 years.

In official action at Tuesday’s meeting, the council introduced a bond ordinance that would pay $365,000 as the city’s share of the capital costs of renovating the former New Providence First Aid Squad headquarters to accommodate the shared emergency dispatch center.

New Providence would pay $365,000 as its share of the capital cost of the renovations.

Bomgaars noted the $365,000 includes an $18,000 down payment and $15,000 for “soft costs.”  Soft costs usually include the fees of architects and other professional advisors on a project.

He added the $365,000 is part of $2 million allocated for the project in the governing body’s six-year capital plan. The remainder of the $2 million is uncommitted at this time, he noted.

Responding to Getzendanner, Bomgaars said $1.6 million in federal grants received for the project could not be allocated for “brick and mortar” items.

The public hearing on the bonding ordinance is scheduled for February 5, along with hearings on ordinances to further regulate parking along Sunset Drive for safety reasons and to increase a number of fees for use of city recreational facilities.

In his report, City Administrator Chris Cotter congratulated his assistant, Megan Champney, for being chosen to chair the Suburban Joint Insurance Fund, Fire Chief Joseph Houck for being elected to chair the state emergency service group and Chief Financial Officer Scott Olsen for attaining the sale of $13.3 million in city bonds at the rate of 0.1695 percent.

Dickson noted the city’s five elementary schools all have won New Jersey Healthy Living Awards, with Jefferson School attaining the silver level. The New Jersey secretary of agriculture will present the awards at 1 pm this Friday at Jefferson.

She also noted the city will have a full day of service to commemorate Martin Luther King Day on Monday including the reading to the “I have a dream” speech from 11 a.m. to noon and the presentation of Keeper of the Dream Awards to Cotter, Summit Community Programs Director Judith Josephs and Christy Hodde of the American Red Cross.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Summit

Summit Downtown Inc. Contributions

July 14, 2016

Let me be Clear about the Downtown Improvement Project that will be starting soon. I have been Involved with this Entire Project from Day one as Chairman Of SDI. City Officials and SDI meet Monthly to Address ALL Issues Concerning the Downtown and the Current Project Ahead.

 

City Planners came up with the Plan for the D/T Project beginning with the Up - Grade to all the Crosswalks, ...

I Want to Bring Fresh Ideas and Positive Solutions to Summit

July 22, 2016

Hello Summit,

I am Steve Bowman and I am excited to share with you that I am running for Common Council for Ward 2. I love the City of Summit and feel we can do so much more. I am concerned about the issues facing Summit and want to address them as a Council Member. Having recently sold my small business brokerage firm, I am ready for my next challenge and I feel a call to civic service.

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 27, 10:00 AM

Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit

Blue Water Art Exhibit at Reeves-Reed Arboretum

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_5104cd36d83545c6b2c6_preschool

Wed, July 27, 12:00 PM

Summit Village Green, Summit

Storytime at the Green

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education

Carousel_image_9756d07eef70d3796260_chess

Wed, July 27, 7:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Human Chess

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education

Summit Police Blotter

July 21, 2016

7/1 - At 1321 hours a theft report was taken for a business on DeForest Avenue. The manager reports that the incident occurred on 6/30 where a female wearing a pink flowered dress and a sweater, entered the business and removed 56 bottles of nail polish. The total value of the items stolen was approximately $504.00.

7/8 - Roy Palmer, Jr., 49, of Chicago, Illinois was arrested on a contempt of ...

Press Releases

Healthy Italia Hosts Open House to Thank Local Community

July 25, 2016

MADISON, NJ - A few short months after Healthy Italia's grand opening at 55 Main Street in Madison the imported Italian specialty food market and cooking school held an open house this week to thank fellow Madison business owners for all of their support since opening.

 

The retail store which opened in March and the much anticipated cooking school that started ...

Audio: Point View's Dietze to Bloomberg - Stick to the Fundamentals During Presidential Election Year

Point View Wealth Management Founder, President, and Chief Investment Officer, David Dietze, live on Bloomberg on how the political campaigns may affect the markets:

 

bloomberg.com

 

Note - segment begins at the 1:50 mark.

 

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and ...

Burial at Sea

As I plugged my phone into the outlet next to a shelf in the hotel bathroom, I had a fleeting thought that it was sort of an odd place for an outlet.  That was actually the last thought I had before my phone slipped out of my hands and fell directly below the shelf…

Into the toilet.

The good news was, the water in the toilet was clean.

The bad news was, it was still water.

Healthcare Stocks Under Pressure: Opportunity Knocking?

Healthcare care stocks had been one of the best performing sectors for years, but that performance came to a halt last year as concerns in the sector have moved into the spotlight. The issues pressuring the stocks are not new, yet the worries have been further ignited by increased attention from the media and from politicians on the campaign trail.  

Controls over drug pricing are ...

The Floor Plan

If You CAN Stand the Heat...

That's right - get in the kitchen... what many people widely acknowledge is the most important room in their house.

 

It's where their day begins. It is the center of their day-to-day living.

 

From a design perspective, kitchens were traditionally darker spaces with heavy cabinetry, but that has now morphed to a trend which sees lighter, more airy spaces ...

Hot Wings & Cold Beer

Come into Tito's Burritos & Wings in Summit and yell "Fore!" at any time during the PGA Championship Thurs-Sunday, July 28-31, and receive 20% off of your order, plus:

Get your cold beer delivered directly to your table for free from The Wine List of Summit when you call between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Here's how to tee up your perfect ...

Hair Matters

Brushing It Up

We believe that most of us have a drawer or two full of brushes from who knows when.  Knowing which brushes are designed to achieve the style you want may help you clean out those drawers and downsize to a few brushes that can get the job done right!

Lets start with the basics.  A PADDLE brush is great for detangling and blow drying large sections of hair at a ...

Ain't That Grand?

A Warm, Familiar Welcome

It has always been a hallmark of independent hotels to retain long-term staff and The Grand Summit Hotel in Summit is at the forefront of that history.

A repeat guest looks for the warmth and comfort that comes from a familiar face when they enter a hotel’s doors to put them at ease knowing they may be away from their family for an extended period of time.

No employee ...

Pokémon Politics Go!

As a rule I stay away from popular fads.  Politics included.

 

I find my views on the latest crazy trends that are sweeping the nation are usually wrong and completely out of touch with reality.  

 

For example, for years I have been predicting the imminent demise of cell phones and the internet.

 

Which is why it seems only appropriate that I expound on ...