Mahwah April 1, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 3 Budget squeeze leads to personnel cutbacks by Frank J. McMahon The combination of increased costs and a state mandated cap on tax hikes has forced the Mahwah Board of Education to eliminate some full time teaching positions and to reduce some staff positions to part time in order to eliminate some health benefit costs. The preliminary 2009-10 budget that has been approved the board of education is $59,122,203, an increase of $1,367,698 or 2.37 percent over the previous year’s total budget. The tax levy required to fund that budget is $50,145,221, an increase of $2,074,577 or 4.3 percent over last year’s tax levy. If the budget is approved by township voters at the polls on April 21, the 2009 school tax rate would increase by 4.2 cents over the current school tax rate of $1.21. That change would result in a tax increase of $153 on a Mahwah home assessed at the township average of $358,417. The school tax is one component of the total tax rate, which also includes taxes for municipal and Bergen County purposes. A public hearing on the budget will be held April 1 at the school board administrative office building located at 60 Ridge Road next to Joyce Kilmer Elementary School and Mahwah High School. School Business Administrator Edward Deptula explained that the primary reasons for the tax levy increase are a $1,381,500 or 4.5 percent in contracted salaries, plus a $1,296,000 or 21 percent increase in medical insurance costs totaling $2,677,500 compared to a $1,928,662 state mandated cap on any increase in the tax levy for the district. That left a gap between the increased expenses and the restricted tax levy revenue of $748,838. The board opted not to replace two employees on leave of absence and has cut one world language teaching position at the Joyce Kilmer School. In addition, the board eliminated partial positions in Latin at Mahwah High School and at the Ramapo Ridge Middle School, and eliminated a partial preschool position and one custodial position. Full time paraprofessional positions have been reduced to parttime to eliminate the health care costs associated with full time posts. Superintendent Charles Montesano emphasized that the budget is still being reviewed, and additional position eliminations are under consideration, including a partial kindergarten position due to enrollment, music and gifted and talented teaching positions, and one assistant principal position. Some extracurricular activities are also being reviewed for potential cost savings or increases in revenue. “Without question, this is the most difficult budget situation that we have ever had to deal with,” Montesano said. “We are faced with dramatic increases in areas over which we do not have immediate control; a fixed limit on our budget in the worst economic climate in decades. Alternatives that may have been viable in the past, such as second question (on the ballot) cannot even be seriously considered given the state of the economy. As a result, we put everything on the table for review and discussion. Where possible, we are looking for savings that do not disrupt programs, but in some instances, we are forced to make program and staffing cuts.” (continued on page 27) • ALARMS • CAR AUDIO • REMOTE STARTERS • NAVIGATION • SATELLITE RADIO • MOBILE VIDEO • IPOD INTEGRATION • BACK UP CAMERAS • EXTERIORS ACCESSORIES any installation over $200 AUTOMOBILE ELECTRONICS SPECIALISTS $25 OFF Expires 8/31/09 - Limit one per customer. May not be combined with any other offers. 526 Route 17 N • Ramsey, NJ 07446 201-961-1717 Open M-Sat 8am - 5:00pm 3-25-09 Joan/Janine Prudential4x3.5(3-25-09) 4x3.5 ����� ���� � � ��� �������� LOSE ������������������������������������������� XXX 8 pt. X height 4-1-09 joan/janine ModelElectronics2x4(4-1-09) DIET CENTER® OF RAMSEY 2x4 246 N. Franklin Tpke #2 with DIET CENTER® Call Now & Kiss Those Pounds Goodbye! 20-30-40 POUNDS OR MORE 201-818-LOSE...the weight (5673) ��������������������� ����������������������������