Cedar Grove Presents Proposed $27.7 Million Budget
$27 million budget means $103.06 as the average property tax on an average assessed home of $466,200, said Cedar Grove Superintendent Dr. Gene Polles.
The Cedar Grove Board of Education began presenting numbers for its proposed 2013-14 budget with a 2 percent cap during Tuesday night's meeting.
Under the proposed $27,709,528 budget, Superintendent Dr. Gene Polles said, "We are looking at $103.06 as the average property tax on an average assessed home of $466,200.”
Administrators presented the budget for technology, curriculum, special education, athletics and co-curricular activities Tuesday.
Informational Technology Director James Walsh presented current forms of technology used throughout the district and highlighted some needed improvements.
The district is looking to purchase between 100 and 200 new Chrome books, notebooks and iPads which will be needed for new Partnership for Assessment and Readiness of College and Careers (PARCC) standardized testing, an online evaluation required by the state for grades three to 11.
The district has already completed Phase One of implementing an overarching wireless network, a network that has one wireless master controller and 35 access points in different locations.
Phase Two involves installing another 35 access points to get wireless access for all areas in each of the four schools.
“In Phase Two, we really need to look forward to getting all the hallways in the schools to be wireless,” said Walsh.
“I don't want to stop, but we have to slow down,” said board member Pamela Burke.
The district also switched from Verizon services to Optimum Lightpath, which has a speed of 1,000 megabytes and 100 megabytes to the Internet. The old network had a speed of 1.5 megabytes with 3 megabytes to the Internet.
“The old network was like an old dial-up network,” said Walsh.
The service will cost $117,000 per year, which is $3,000 less than what was anticipated, he said.
The Lightpath upgrade also allows the district to save $5,700 by having students use Google Docs, which is free.
Curriculum and Instruction
David Coster, K-12 Supervisor of Math and Science and Lynn DiMatteo, K-12 Supervisor of English and Language Arts presented the figures for curriculum and instruction to the board.
One of the highlights in the budget is a new high school elective called Tomorrow’s Teachers being offered to high school seniors pursue teaching careers and who meet a certain criteria.
The elective is a full-year class in which students will examine how they learn while also learning the history and trends of the profession. Students will have the opportunity to get hands-on experiences by observing teachers, creating their own lesson plans and analyzing their experiences.
“This is a very exciting program,” said Coster, who added he was a bit jealous of the teacher who got to teach this class. “I would have liked to share my enthusiasm for teaching.”
The class is open to high school seniors with a B average or above, who have letters of recommendations and write an essay. Finally, a panel will review the students.
Both Coster and DiMatteo also presented the cost of various textbooks, which total $97,570 towards the budget.
In addition, another $12,250 will go towards curriculum technology like IXL.com, which allows parents and teachers to monitor student progress and curriculum mapping software, which allows teachers to share notes.
The total amount for district testing totals $35,273 and AchieveNJ testing, for teacher training and evaluation, costs $33,862.
Director of Special Services Christopher Kinney presented the $2,549,173 Special Education budget.
The figures included:
◆ Out of district tuition, $2,319,522
◆ Related services like outside evaluations, $324,999
◆ Extraordinary services, like nursing, $93,320
◆ Child study team, $22,290
◆ Other supplies, $14,675
◆ an extended school year program, $41,402.
However, the district will see a decrease in federal funding for Individual with Disability Act Funds and may receive $267,035, which is a decrease of more than $89,000.
Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities
The last item was athletics and co-curricular activities, presented by Polles.
There is an increase in the budget because of a newly negotiated teachers agreement for salaries for all coaches, said Polles, who added the coaches had not been given a raise in two years.
The athletics item in the budget totals $474,789 and co-curricular activities, which include band, honor societies, student government, clubs and organizations totals $165,717.
Members of the public are welcome to attend Cedar Grove's budget hearing at 8 p.m. on March 26 at the North End Media Center and the following meeting on April 16 at the same time and location to comment on the budget.