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Council, K-8 Board Approve Adjusted Budgets

The K-8 school budget for 2011-12 is reduced by $300,000, leaving the average homeowner to pay about $50 more in taxes next year.

The Gloucester Township Board of Education unanimously approved a spending plan with an adjusted tax levy Monday night at Ann A. Mullen Middle School, cutting the 2011-12 school budget by $300,000.

The Board of Education’s decision followed the unanimous certification of the adjusted K-8 district's budget by the Township Council earlier the same evening.

The GTPS rejected budget, defeated in the April election by a relatively narrow margin, totaled $100,912,254. The approved budget calls for spending $100,612,254.

The originally proposed tax rate of 94.96¢ per $100 of assessed property value would have resulted in the owner of the average-priced Gloucester Township home ($199,000) paying $1,889.70 in taxes to Gloucester Township Public Schools for the 2011-12 school year, up from about $1,833 for the current school year.

With the adjusted tax levy approved Monday night, that same taxpayer will pay $1,882.94 to the K-8 district—about $50 more than last year and $7 less than the originally proposed 2011-12 school budget.

Across the state, more than half of all school budgets were rejected by voters in April. Under New Jersey state law, a failed budget is passed to the local governing body within two days of certification of the local election results.

The Town Council had until May 19 to certify a tax levy adjustment. It did so Monday night, certifying adjusted budgets for the K-8 district and the Black Horse Pike Regional high-school district, which is comprised of Highland, Timber Creek and Triton.

Council approved the adjusted K-8 budget with a 5-0 vote. Councilman Franklin Schmidt, a GTPS employee, abstained.

Council approved the Black Horse Pike Regional School District's adjusted budget 6-0.

Councilwoman Crystal Evans did not attend the meeting. Evans' decision to decline Council President Glen Bianchini's invitation to sit on a Council subcommittee charged with suggesting cuts to the defeated school budgets sparked a debate.

As was the case with the K-8 district, the subcommittee, following Township Business Administrator Tom Cardis' recommendation, asked the BHPRSD board to cut $300,000 from its tax levy. 

The BHPRSD board will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the district's Erial Road administration office to vote on the adjusted budget.

In other Gloucester Township Public Schools news:

  • On May 9, during a special reorganization meeting, the Board of Education voted Linda Gilch as Board president and Ellen Reese as vice president. Both Gilch and Reese have served as officers and general members of the Board for about 12 years, according to Superintendent Thomas Seddon. Gilch previously served as vice president. William Collins is outgoing Board President.
  • Earlier this week, a report released by the NJ Department of Education Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance Investigations Unit stated that eight New Jersey teachers breached testing protocols during standardized tests by providing improper assistance during the 2009-10 school year. One of the teachers works at a Gloucester Township school. According to Superintendent Thomas Seddon, the teacher in the township, who had reached tenure, was disciplined. Seddon declined to comment on specific disciplinary action and also to provide the name of the affected school. According to the state DOE, all incidents were at elementary schools.
  • In partnership with the Gloucester Township Police Department, the board approved the installation of SmartBusLive technology on one school bus for the 2011-12 school year. The system is a violation detection system designed to provide evidence of drivers who fail to follow school bus safety laws. There is no cost to the school district to implement this program.
  • Theodore Otten was appointed as principal of Charles W. Lewis Middle School, effective July 1. Otten is currently the school's vice principal.

The Board of Education will hold its final meeting for the 2010-11 school year on June 27 at the district office.

Big Daddy 1 May 17, 2011 at 01:19 PM
Wow! A whopping 0.3% decrease. So what is the point of voting when our fearless leaders put in whatever they want for themselves. And yes, 75% of the money goes to themselves. It is clear that whatever laws allow them to do this for themselves every year need to be removed. I see Crystal Evans is making a statement. Where are the rest of those who are supposed to represent the voters. Our so-called representatives still seem to be blocking the print of certain patch articles. We would like to print the words, not pictures of the grass patch.
Jim Holderman May 17, 2011 at 11:00 PM
It should now be clear that if we all want change, you had better run a candidate and elect them to stop the waste and shell games played with tax payer money. If the majority like the fleecing, nothing will change. They count in it.
John Reynolds May 17, 2011 at 11:12 PM
The arrogance of our public servants. The people that voted down the budget apparently wasted their time. If the republicans can't run anyone to beat these clowns they may as well close up shop.
ymbdfa May 18, 2011 at 03:41 AM
I agree if the Republicans want to continue to play the victim and run incompetent candidates backed by council member Evans who seemed only interested in telling all of us that she would not be forced to help reduce the school tax, because she wasn't getting paid by council. It’s a joke the way her republican party pretends to care about us then do nothing to actually help us. How can anyone who was elected by the people even think about making the statement on the record that they “REFUSE” to do what the voters elected her to do and think that is ok. How anyone can think that was ok is incomprehensible.
GTWatchdawg May 18, 2011 at 05:08 AM
Councilwoman Evans is the only one who council who looks out for the children, while protecting the parents wallets. She is the only DEMOCRAT on council who does not ignore the will of "the people" Unlike Councilman Hutchinson who is not only be a phoney, but bully. He continued to attack Evans while she was not in attendance. Would Hutchinson try to do that to a man? Question is are his days numbered on council? Will he resign when he fills in the placeholder spot on the Democrat Assembly ticket???
leon jordan May 18, 2011 at 11:32 AM
YMBDFA, until you can be man enough to use your real name "SHUT THE FUDGE UP" It's obvious that your on the Norcross payroll anyway and once we get your IP address we'll have a REAL name. One thing is for sure, Bianchini and Mercado will not be going back on council. Evans is the only council member with common sense. A whopping 0.3% decrease This has to be some kind of a JOKE. We're with Councilwoman Evans, Take that whopping 0.3% decrease and shove it where the sun don't shine. It is shameful that this Unethical Attorney Dumbo Dan would start his remarks. Isn't the liasion for the HRC. Perhaps the state needs to review the tape and have him removed. Hutchison needs to step down immediately from council and we are drawing up petitions to have him removed for downing Councilwoman Evans for speaking her mind. We would like all of the council members to give up their salaries. I love Councilwoman Evans she should be Mayor of this township and everyone agrees. People HATE DAN HUTCHISON, ORLANDO MERCADO, FRANK SCHMIDT, GLEN BIANCHINI, MICHELLE GENTEK, DAVE CALEMERE, TOM CARDIS AND KEN GARBOWSKI, AND THEY HATE MAYER MAYOR. This is the worse group of politicians on the planet. Councilwoman Evans is the best thing that happened to Gloucester TOWNSHIP and SHE will go down in history for standing up against this BS Machine, we will see to it. We got your back Councilwoman Evans, we will defeat this crooked council, administration and Mayor.
Big Daddy 1 May 18, 2011 at 11:33 AM
I suspect Councilwoman Evans knew there wern't going to be any meaningful budget changes no matter what she did. She was standing alone for us. That seems to have been made more clear by the rest of Council that chose to do nothing (other than criticize her). Her boycot may have brought more attention to the situation rather than arguing a lost cause.
l t Paine May 18, 2011 at 12:19 PM
People need to take a stand like councilwoman Evans. If the Council, the School Board and the Administrators refuse to respect and listen to the public. Then the public needs to become more vocal at meetings asking hard questions and demand straight answers. They have to put these people on notice that it is no longer business as usual that they are watching and will not stand for it any longer and that needs to be done in public meetings so there answers will be on record. What was once a proud District is now just a joke= failed policies, poor test scores, state investigation concerning state test, the budget shell game of moving money each month from account to account to keep people guessing where the money is. The District is in dire need of new leadership on the Board and in the District Administrative offices residents can no longer afford this District;s policy of every year "We Need More Money" instead of coming up with fresh ideas and respecting the public enough to listen to them and giving them straight answers. So to the Board Members, Mr. Seddon, Superintendent, Mr. Bilodeau, Business Adminstrator and the rest of the Administrators of the District residents are tired of the District's pompous attitude to the people that foot the bill. No more budget shell games with moving money each month. No more just throwing money at a severely broken system. When the opportunity arises to vote in people that respect and listen to residents.
John Reynolds May 18, 2011 at 02:52 PM
I met Crystal Evans once at a meeting of Terrestria residents concerning their ongoing problem with the GTMUA. She was the only council member to show up. After the meeting we attended the GT council meeting to voice our problems. If you're not aware, sewage has been backing up in some homes in Terrestria the last 5 years or so. The residents have been to GT council meetings before and haven't had much luck trying to resolve the problem. Council contends that Terrestra is responsible for the sewer lines but can't locate any paper work to prove their claim. Most of the council members have heard these complaints before and looked bored. One guy on council, Garbowski, told one of the women she should clean the sewer line herself . I guess he figured some middle woman was going to climb down the sewer hole. At that point I entertained the thought of slapping some sense into him.
Joshua Berry May 18, 2011 at 05:02 PM
As I read this thread, some of the comments are genuinely surprising while some are unfortunately quite expected. It is obvious which comments were made by party "homers" (from both parties) who will defend the official party line regardless of fact or intrepretation. I was at both the regular council meeting where the subcommittee was announced and at the budget vote earlier this week. Assuming each of the posters are separate individuals and not the same person with multiple ID's, you had your chance to show up and speak but did not. On Monday night the room was mostly empty. Only a few spoke during the public portion which included two members of the regional BOE. If you had problems that was your chance to express it. Or you could have come to the school boards original budget proposal. I'll admit I did not go to the BOE meetings -- my focus right now is on the municipal. Please take a step back from the hatred. The original levy increases were approximately 2% and 1.5%, both under the cap. The local school increase was lowered about 45% and the regional school increase was lowered about 75%. I do not always agree with Council, but this is a reasonable decrease given the short time they had. Can we squeeze out more savings -- probably. If you think you can find more then stop yelling on blogs and start showing up to BOE meetings and start asking questions. OPRA is your friend and will get you any information you need.
l t Paine May 18, 2011 at 06:34 PM
You want an example of squeezing more savings Monday's Board meeting had a budget transfer from account #11-000-262-120-40-50 Maintenance Supervisor of $50,000 to another account. The account original appropiation was $125,970. Now the funny part the position doesn't exist and it never has, they have a Facilities Supervisor and had a PM Custodial Supervisor but with budget cuts there is no PM Custodial Supervisor for the last couple of years. So here is the question if the District is serious about saving residents money and cutting staff, why have an account for a position that doesn't exist. Wondering if other savings could be found by taking a closer look at accounts.
Big Daddy 1 May 18, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Joshua: We appreciate your level headed comments. I have been to meetings and it never changes anything. Crystal Evans seems to have figured that out. We still have high taxes, quick tax sales when you are 30 days late, potholes everywhere, more than $100 million of extravagant and unfunded benefits, etc. etc. etc. Some of us thought putting it in writing might be effective in that others may read about it, but you can't print the articles, only pictures of the grasspatch.
Darren Gladden May 18, 2011 at 11:14 PM
Let's all Relax and enjoy this song and Remember Just care I do and even my hairplugs care http://youtu.be/u3NE6UuaLiY
Joshua Berry May 19, 2011 at 12:36 AM
@Daddy and LT. I'll be at Mondays Council meeting. If you want to be part of the effort to enact real change, please find me after the meeting.
warren hales May 19, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Same OLD political Recycled machine parts about to be sent to the proper place, (The JUNK YARD) First place, DUMB DUMB DRAMA NUT DAN HUTCHISON - IS HE ON CRACK? He acts like it. Dan Hutchison is a JOKE! - a RECYCLED WANNABEE POLITICAN Bianchini = 20 Years on council - Thats Two whole Decades Mercado = 10 Year a Full Decade Schmidt = 17 years Calamere = 40 years Cardis = 18 years Gentek - ??? (Still trying to figure out what that's all about) Mayor Dave Mayer - Another Recycled Politician puppet to the Norcross
l t Paine May 27, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Well welcome to the Gloucester Twp Schools end of the year buying frenzy and the famous district Budget shell game. Well let's start with May's Board meeting. You have Resolution #OSH-35 for 100 new HP Tablet PCs for $151,236, I have no prolem buying new PCs, my problem is budget for them don't buy them at the end of the year because you don't want residents to see that you had extra money. Now budget transfers $50,000 taken from that account of Maintenance Supervisor salary you know the position that doesn't exist and moved to Grounds Equipment account and guess what on June 9, 2011 there is a bid opening for a new Backhoe,. Like I said I have no problem if they budget for it, but don't buy it because you don't want residents to see you didn't spend all this year's money. The Fiscal school year ends June 30 and there is a Board Meeting June 27, wonder how many budget transfers and new PO's at that meeting? I wonder who is watching out for the taxpayers of Gloucester Township because I have serious doubts it's the Board or the current Administration(the Superintendent or Business Agent). Yet they have the never to tell people of difficult choices when they had to cut $300,00 from the new budget , it just goes to show how much "FLUFF' is buried in this Budget. You have to ask where is the Board in all this?
Joshua Berry May 27, 2011 at 10:01 PM
South Jersey Citizens is watching out for the taxpayer. LT: right now we are busy with the municipal government and the pay to play laws, but will be moving to the schools when we have the manpower to. We need people like yourself to step forward and give us the information so we can do an investigation. Set up a fake email account and send the information to info@southjerseycitizens.org when we get something credible, we'll look into it. I realize you work for the schools and are afraid of retribution fpr speaking out. But if you know of anyone interested in helping us be a watchdog for the people, please put them in contact with us.
mathforeveryone June 08, 2011 at 01:08 AM
It's great to know that a teacher within our public schools cheated on the standardized testing and still gets to keep their job. It also turns my stomach that we the parents aren't being told who did it but yet that same teacher will demand the respect and honesty from my child even though they are morally bankrupt. You can forget my "yes" vote next school budget because I don't want a penny going to that teacher! I hope others will join me and say enough! Pardon me, I forgot you aren't allowed to teach morals in our public schools!
l t Paine June 10, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Would you expect anything less from this Board and the current crop top Administrators in the District they had the power to do something and chose not to. It's the same message over and over "do as I say, not as I do" whether it be simple morals like in the case you stated or preaching fiscal responsibility to the public and then spending in a mad rush what you haven't used before June 30. You are right voters should vote down any budget they put in front of you until the Board and Administration are willing to listen to the public and practice what they preach.


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