HomeWilliamstown NewsMonroe Township Board of Education tables budget

Monroe Township Board of Education tables budget

Disagreements among Monroe Township board members at their March 11 meeting  resulted in the tabling of a new budget and a lingering uncertainty.

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Board President Frederick Powell resigned during the meeting and Dr. Richard Perry, superintendent of schools, was voted out by a majority of the board. Meanwhile, Vice President Jeffery Simpler proposed a meeting to have been held on March 16 to determine an actual increase and possibly agree on a 1 percent budget.

“I would like to see 1 percent,” said board member Mike D’Andrea. “I’d love to go to zero, but I think what we’re making up for in this budget is lost time.”

Before he was voted out, Perry provided an update on the district’s current financial standing.

“There is $2.7 million more in state aid this year than last year,” he said. “The Monroe Township School district is still short $12,000,000 a year. We are $7,000,000 under our adequacy spending.”

“We’re trying not to cut staff,” said Business Administrator and Board Secretary Lisa Schulz. “This budget allows us to maintain all of our programs. ”

In terms of increased school staff to meet required needs, the board is adding mental health counselors at the high school and middle school. Hollyglen Elementary will have a science teacher and Oak Knell Elementary will get a fourth grade teacher. A physical education teacher will be added at White Hall Elementary.

A key topic during the public forum portion of the meeting was implementation of full-day kindergarten in September.

“I think you should talk to your administration about the $83,000,000 preschool expansion grant that’s out there,” said resident Judy Spanos, referring to funds from the U.S. Department of Education.

“I think this would be a huge step forward.”

“I also support full-day kindergarten, said resident Danny Soto, “and I think it’s important that we understand that we can’t be led by fear.

“We’re hearing a lot about the daycare cost being $25,000,” he added. “There are choices out there for what can and can not be. You can’t just let that drive the cost, because if that’s how much we’re spending on a budget for full-day kindergarten, then we’re not managing our own budget well.”

Perry addressed residents’ concerns about the issue, noting that since the district was able to acquire $2.7 million more in state aid this year — and if the same amount or higher is available next year — a full-day kindergarten program could possibly be established.


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