$86 Million School Budget Passes With 1.9% Tax Increase
The $86 million 2012-2013 school budget increases teachers and staff while cutting in-house custodial workers
The Fair Lawn Board of Education unanimously approved an $86 million 2012-2013 school budget Wednesday that includes a 1.9 percent tax increase.
"We’re looking at one of the best, most advantageous tax impacts to this community that we’ve had in a long, long time," superintendent Bruce Watson said. "We have a monthly tax increase of only $9 to the average assessed homeowner. It’s the lowest it’s been in probably 20 years."
The adopted budget includes 11 new teacher and staff hires in areas of need throughout the district, but also calls for the reduction via outsourcing of between nine and 12 custodial workers.
"These are the things today that we're going to have to do to bring our costs down and put the money over in the education side," Watson said, explaining the custodial cuts.
Last year, the board eliminated seven custodial positions and hired Aramark Management Services to perform nighttime custodial duties in both of the district's middle schools at a cost savings of $230,000.
"Not only did we realize [the expected cost savings]," Watson said, "but our buildings were cleaner."
This year -- with the exception of a district-employed head custodian at each building -- contractors will replace all custodial staff at both midde schools and the high school. Savings are estimated at $450,000.
Board member Mary Wallace said she opposed the privatization of the custodians, but reiterated that it would not stop her from supporting the budget as a whole.
The district's 11 new hires include two Spanish teachers, a speech teacher, an art teacher, a physical education/health teacher, a resource center teacher, an ESL teacher, an elementary teacher, a remedial kindergarten teacher, a social worker and a psychologist.
"There's a host of reasons why we're adding staff," Watson said, citing an increase in the number of students with socialization issues and an increase in students who are non-native speakers.
The additional kindergarten teacher will be tasked with heading up the district's new full-day kindergarten initiative for children who enter the school system behind their peers academically and need extra attention.