Thursday, February 28, 2013

NJ DOE - State School Aid - 2013-14

From the NJ DOE's website here today - a summary of the projected 2013-14 state school aid for K-12 - excluding debt service:

For Middlesex County:
You can go here to sort through the entire state list.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Top 10 Reasons

You gotta like Board of Mythomania School Budgets here in Downtown Edison:

10. You like voting on a school budget and never hearing about that budget again.

9. You like letting them $pend all that money any way they want, without explanation, regardless of where they said they would in the budget.

8. You like not knowing all those unbudgeted heads they added and forget to tell you when they ask you to vote for the school budget.

7. You like not having the opportunity ask questions when $pending exceeds any particular line item in budget.

6. You like not knowing when they deviate from the planned budgeted $pending and why.

5. You like them asking for additional $taffing every budget year but leaving out all the unbudgeted staff they already added.

4. You like not knowing how they actually did against all those budgeted line items they asked you to vote for.

3. You like having a board that doesn't understand why you need to measure & report out actual performance against the budget to truly be open & transparent.

2. You like a board that thinks budget savings is the same as slowing the growth of $pending.

1. You like having no accountability or public scrutiny over a now $214 million, bloated pot of money called a school budget that grows exponentially every year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Super O'Malley's take on School Budget - 2013-14

Just saw the piece in today's Sentinel on the School Budget for 2013-14. It's Super Richard 'Build the Trust" O'Malley's description of what's in it and his take on it. You can see it here.

Now, normally I wouldn't mind reading these press releases except for one thing - the budget wasn't made public yet. The piece says 'The preliminary budget was presented at the Board of Education's Feb. 20 caucus meeting. The board was expected to discuss and vote on adopting the package on Feb. 25.' Don't know if they did or not but they usually would make the preliminary budget available to the public at that Feb. 25 meeting. 

Recognize they're still waiting for state aid numbers but if they were going to make this budget public - they could of just as easily put out a preliminary budget to the public subject to change for the final state aid numbers. 

Really, you going to hold up a budget of some $213.8 million because you don't know whether the state aid number is $13.5 million or $14.5 million? If last year's budget is any indication, they'll just use any increase in state aid to increase their $pending - and you won't see it because you don't have a preliminary budget to see the numbers and look at now.

They didn't give out any preliminary budget - so, O'Malley can quote all the numbers he thinks are important and say whatever he wants to unchallenged since we have no way of knowing what's actually in this budget. Not for nothing but he's the last guy I'd want to see talking about budget numbers and making budget presentations - and, especially when you don't have the same budget he's looking at.

Well, guess it's not public yet unless it goes in a Sentinel piece. That's Not nice.

Just curious - what's going to happen now? Are they going to call another meeting to give out the preliminary budget and have a public discussion or are they just going to skip to the March 21 meeting for final adoption?

Anyhoo, good thing O'Malley didn't tell us in this piece what this Preliminary 2013-14 Budget does to Last Year's $2.668 School Tax Rate here in Downtown Edison.'s a secret!!

PS - of course we don't know what's in this budget or what they used for state aid but based on the 2013-14 tax levy of $191.1 million quoted - this preliminary budget has a School Tax Rate of $2.710, which is up 4.2-Cents or 1.6% over Last Year's $2.668. That's just wonderful.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Budget games - Mythomania Style-a-Mundo!

Just a reminder that it's budget time over there on Mythomania and it might be helpful to remember that highly touted, Best-est ever School Budget for 2012-13. You remember that one - where they went on and on about keeping the fiscal year tax levy flat to the prior year but never mentioned how much $pending was increased!

Well, just to refresh your mind - $pending in the 2012-13 school budget was $212.2 million, up $7.2 million over the prior year's $205.0 million. That budget came with a Tax Rate of $2.668 per hundred of assessed value, up 4.1-Cents over the prior year's $2.627. You can see my take on it here.

Now, how is it that other aid (meant for tax relief) can go up by 7.2 million - yet the tax levy stayed the same as it was in the prior year?

Simple, they took all that aid meant for taxpayer relief and used it to increase their $pending in the 2012-13 school budget. You know, thingies like hoarded aid that came in after the 2011-12 tax rate was struck, that additional $1.9 million we got in state aid, the excess free balance to mention a few. Rather than giving any of it back to us - they used it to increase their $pending! Wasn't that Nice!?!

Oh wait, gotta be fair - they did give us back $56,000 of the $7.2 million for tax relief.

Remember too - state aid in 2012-13 only increased by $1.9 million - yet they came up with $7.2 million in increased $pending.

Here, take a look at what they did:
Anyhoo, do yourself a favor and pay attention to their offering for the 2013-14 school budget - soon to be coming to your neighborhood. Things aren't always as informative and transparent as they are presented to be over there on Mythomania Lane.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dire need of some Equilibrium over on Mythomania Lane!

You know, if you want to be fair to all the stake-holders in Downtown Edison, then you really need to have some balance there over on Mythomania Lane. Kind of like someone who will look out for and be fair to all the stake-holders - including those, often forgotten, people who pay the bills - the residents & taxpayers. Seems we've switched the direction of where we $pend all that money - but not the amount of money.

Seems we're still uncontrollably $pending that Big Bucket of Money - just in a Re-Purposed way. Time for some fiscal responsibility over there and recognition that the taxpayers are stake-holders too:

Anyhoo, guess it's true what they say - the more things change, the more they stay the same. Still in dire need of some oversight & fiscal responsibility over there on Mythomania Lane. Time to recognize the other stake-holder, the residents & taxpayers.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Oh boy - Maeroff goes off on Szilagyi

You know, it really disappoints me to see Board Prez. Maeroff go down the road of chastising  residents because of something they said or have written about the Board of Mythomania. In this case, a letter to the editor he wrote which you can see here. Now, I'm not going to waste your time by getting into this whole infamous $5.0 million lease purchase thingie for EHS here - you can see my take on it in a previous post. Just want to say a few things about his letter.

Maeroff's letter - 'Edison school board doing its job properly' is somewhat disingenuous and a whole lot of hot air. Now, that's not to say that he shouldn't push back on anyone that he disagrees with - he should and hopefully, it opens a debate. But, most likely, it won't. But I'm always amazed with all the resources available to him (including that one-man's opinion he writes under the From the Desk of Gene Maeroff) that he feel's the need to write letters to the editor. Must be taking advice from the Super.

Anyhoo, challenging the facts is one thing but stretching the truth mythomaniac style and making it personal to boot is another.

Really, this board never misled the public, is fiscally responsible and the most transparent in years?? You'd have to live over there on Mythomania Lane to believe that rhetoric. There's a whole list of things you can point to with this board to see that's not exactly true - starting with Super Richard 'Build the Trust" O'Malley who should be barred from anything having to do with numbers relating to this school district.

Finally, it's one thing to point out what you think is someone's misleading comments but it's quite another to do it by trying to hype your own.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Current Salaries - Edison Board of Mythomania

Here's the latest total salaries by Department, Location & Person for the Board of Mythomania with some summaries & breakdowns. Total salaries include the contract salary plus any extra's - i.e. longevity pay and tenure stipends, etc. The total salaries in this file are $127,717,149 with 1,935 heads for a simple salary average of $66,004 per head.

Here's a summary from the file received by range of dollars:
Here's the breakdown of the file received by Department:
In this breakdown, Mean is just the simple average (total salary/heads) for the department. Median is the middle salary in the range of salaries in the department where half the salaries are above that number and half are below.

Here's the List of all the 1,935 Heads & Salaries by Department and Location. It's set on the Administration but you can go here to sort this file:
Finally, here's a comparison of this salary file with the salary file received at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year after ETEA contract settlements were entered:
Note that this is just a comparison to a previous salary file and Not to their budget. They do not report & disclose monthly salary and staffing changes against their budget - and that continues to be a major problema which allows them to treat their entire budget as a big pot of money to be moved around - pretty much anyway they want.

Not exactly how you get control of Out-of-Control $pending or allow you to see how they're doing against their budgeted line items.

Anyhoo, pay attention to their next request for a big pot of money (aka 2013-14 school budget) soon coming to neighborhood near you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

April 2012 Preliminary School Election Results

Just noticed the NJ DOE has posted the above-mentioned 2012 Preliminary Results (2012-13 Budgets) here. These results are for those districts having April elections last year. There were 70 districts reported with 62 districts passing their budgets and 8 districts rejecting their budgets.

Here's the list of districts in Middlesex County:
You can go here and sort the data in this file.