Education

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

b5e66424907afddfbedc_Summ.Coun.JPG
Credits: Bob Faszczewski
f300c07c05e33a954f71_Summcoun1.JPG
Credits: Bob Faszczewski
811bdab165bf16e12358_Getz1.JPG
Credits: Bob Faszczewski
b5e66424907afddfbedc_Summ.Coun.JPG

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:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Summit

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_1cef87cbdacf9defb471_c9d423b6982ac3168cd6_adobestock_53537383_storytelling

Thu, May 24, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Ages 1-5 yrs.: Spanish Storytime

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_37b1d582821947944262_c6711052bf7af8828231_storytime_0317

Thu, May 24, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Spanish Storytime

Arts & Entertainment Education

Summit Police Blotter

May 17, 2018

4/24 - At 0728 hours a report was taken for a theft of two (2) sandwiches from a business on Morris Avenue. The manager reported that at approximately 0330 hours a male entered the business and removed two sandwiches from a refrigerated case. After doing so, he exited the store without paying for them. The male suspect was described as Hispanic, approximately 6’0”wearing a blue/gray ...

Video: Point View's Dietze Reviews Investment Strategies as Trade Tensions with China Calm

May 23, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on FOX Business on investment strategies in the wake of the thawing of Chinese trade tensions.

ptview.com/medias/tv-radio

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Talks Current Events That Could Be Market Movers

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on CNBC discussing events that could move the market this week:

.ptview.com/medias/tv-radio

​​​For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...