'The 2013-14 budget is now in the hands of the voters' so reads the piece you can see here.
Ok, if so, then You should laugh and then kick this $213.8m Out-of-Control $pending 'Pot of Money' called a budget to the curb and
You can see my take on this budget in previous posts and what this budget will actually cost You but it's hard to read this piece and not comment on all the Blah..Blah and cherry-picking going on with Maeroff's take on this budget. I take it that Maeroff got some pointers from Super Dr. Richard 'Build the Trust' O'Malley's School of Budget Presentations.
So, let me start by saying that this Budget raises $pending (again) by $1.7m, has reduced aid of ($1.2m) and hence, an Increase in the Local Tax Levy of $2.9m. Now, think about this..how could aid go down when we received the same state aid as last year and actually got an extra $500k? It can't! They're just sticking us again with that $1.9m in Taxpayer Relief money that they used to increase $pending last year. Don't see any of that in this piece.
Next, those Local tax Levy numbers he's using of $186.6 for 2012-13 and $189.5m for 2013-14 are what you'll see on the Ballot - not what's in their budget. Look on page 2 of their budget and you'll see those numbers are $188.2m and $191.1m, respectively. The reason why there's a difference is because there's some previously approved debt that doesn't go on the ballot. That's a tad bit misleading since the Local tax rate is calculated off the $191.1m and not the $189.5m. Don't see that explained in this piece.
Moving on, here's where you'll find the most egregious and disingenuous comments by Maeroff.
"It increases taxes." Maeroff said of the budget, 'but that's beyond our control." he then goes to say that $40 of the $75 tax increase is the result of Edison losing tax ratables. Further, he says 'People are having their properties reassessed and businesses are moving out," he said. 'People are paying higher taxes just to produce the same amount as previous years.' He goes on to say that the balance of the tax increase ($35) is related to the district's operating expenses.
Seriously now, who writes this stuff - 'beyond our control.' Well, the drop in ratables has been going on for the past few years and it's beyond the resident/taxpayers control too but we have to absorb it. What has the School Board done to lessen the burden? Did they look for ways to cut back to help the residents/taxpayers?
No - they just continue $pending away and pass along the shortfall in ratables on to us - just like they Re-purposed our tax relief money to $pending.
Yeah, 'people are paying higher taxes just to produce the same amount as last year' because they won't cut anything when ratables drop year after year. So, stinkie-poo on that one-sided rhetoric.
Next, we have the request for additional staff. He says they want to add 3 teachers and 4 library aides plus 1 other not mentioned for a total of 8 new staff in this budget.
But wait, he doesn't tell you that already added 7 Unbudgeted Heads to payroll in this current school year - that's 3 Guidance Counselors, 1 Secondary Supervisor, 1 Data System Analyst, 1 Nurse and 1 Lunch Aid. It's called the 'Staffing Shell Game', which you can also read about in a previous post and see how the Unbudgeted heads have grown to over 390 over the past few years.
So, why would you let them have 8 new positions when they're already added 7 Unbudgeted positions and aren't telling you about it in this budget that they're asking you to approve? You shouldn't. And wouldn't knowing that they've already added 7 new positions have an impact on your decision to give them 8 more? It would. Until they end this game of hide and seek, you shouldn't approve any new additions to staff.
Anyhoo, this is typical of this board, which is out of touch with reality and lacks any modicum of honest and open disclosure with the residents about what they're doing with these School Budgets and Your tax dollars.
You know, unless you wake up and smell the dandelions over there on Mythomania Lane and Stop handing them 'Big Pots of Money' to $pend at will and without any budget reporting or accountability to the residents/taxpayers of Downtown Edison, they will continue to hand you these disingenuous budget explanations and pick your pockets ad nauseam.
PS - You can also see Fred Wolke's letter on the school budget here in the same paper today.