Tentative School Budget Would Raise Taxes 2.25 Percent

Fair Lawn Superintendent Bruce Watson presented a tentative $90.9 million budget to the school board last week.

Superintendent Bruce Watson. File photo.
Superintendent Bruce Watson. File photo.
The Fair Lawn school district's tax levy would increase by 2.25 percent for the next school year under a tentative budget presented by Superintendent Bruce Watson Thursday.

The $90,983,759 budget would include a $78,882,872 tax levy, up from this year's $77.1 million levy on a budget of $88.3 million, Watson said. For the average borough home assessed at $323,679, that would mean an increase of $93.36 for the year.

Typically, school districts and local governments in New Jersey are restricted to a tax increase of 2 percent increase each year. For the past three years, school officials in Fair Lawn have kept their budgets far enough below the 2 percent cap — respecting that borough residents may be struggling in the bad economy, Watson said — that they were able to bank some potential tax increases for later, allowing them to exceed the cap by more than $800,000 this year.

The tentative budget would increase taxes by $548,500 over the cap, Watson said. They would also use about $500,000 from the district's capital fund to minimize the impact on taxpayers, he added.

The proposed budget would allow the district to maintain their current staff and programs, support the needed resources to implement the new state-mandated Common Core standards, PARCC tests and staff evaluations, resurface the track at Sasso Field, hire four new special education teachers and other staff, maintain the BSI kindergarten program and fund the district's portion of some of the roof and window projects for which they have been awarded state grants.

School officials may also seek a referendum to have voters decide on some of the roof and window projects and on a possible school expansion to create more classroom space, Watson said.

Next, members of the school board will review the budget and may make changes before voting on it.
David Fidler January 20, 2014 at 10:42 PM
I'm not a troll and it predates the internet by years. For example, POV has been a documentary series on PBS since ~1988.
Stephanie Chlebnikow January 21, 2014 at 06:27 AM
this better include full day kinder garden...uhg
Irving Schlatter January 21, 2014 at 07:56 AM
The people on the Board apparently haven't pinched themselves to realize that Fair Lawn cannot sustain this budget any longer. Champagne wishes and Caviar dreams with middle class folks! 50x100 lots paying 10k in taxes!
FL4LIFE January 21, 2014 at 10:25 AM
i think there are definitely ways to save money and reduce budget. i think the main problem is the salaries and multiple positions added in the administration. when i was a kid in elementary school which was about 20 years ago, we had a principal and that was it. now every school has a principal, a vice principal, sometimes a dean to discipline children (dont see why the vice principal cant take care of that) multiple guidance councilors. then we pay all of them six figure salaries. i think we have to either reduce the positions and give them more responsibilities to justify the massive salaries or keep the positions and reduce the salaries. also i think teachers have a tough job and deserve to be paid for it, however our system only rewards time and not ability. considering the days off (spring breaks, winter breaks holiday breaks, summer time) i think a should make 40-75k depending on ability. with summer school or coaching or running a club a good teacher can make 75k plus an extra 10k which most people would consider a great salary. however we have teachers making over 100k not because of ability or effort but because they have been there for so long.
Michael Agosta January 21, 2014 at 10:40 AM
This is a great resource to see what everyone earns off the Fair Lawn taxpayer's back. http://www.nj.com/news/bythenumbers/


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