Mahwah April 29, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 7 Budget, former trustee win approval by Frank J. McMahon The voters of Mahwah approved a $50,145,221 tax levy to fund the school district’s 2009-10 total budget of $59,122,203 in last week’s school board election. They also chose Peter Wendrychowicz, a former trustee, to finish out an unexpired two year term on the board. Three incumbent trustees, Candace Larson, John F. Dolan and Christine P. Davis, ran unopposed in the election and received 1,415, 1,412, and 1,368 votes, respectively. There were 2,090 votes cast, representing 13.5 percent of the 15,451 registered voters in the township’s 14 districts. Some 1,080 residents, or 53.6 percent of those who went to the polls, voted for the tax levy, while 934 voted against it. Superintendent Charles Montesano said he was relieved that the budget had been approved by the voters of the township. “We really appreciate the people supporting the budget in these tough economic times,” Montesano said. “I think it’s just because the people of Mahwah support education and support the kids. That’s it in a nutshell.” The 2009-10 budget of $59,122,203 represents an increase of $1,367,698, or 2.37 percent, over the previous year’s total budget. The tax levy increased by $2,074,577, or 4.3 percent, over last year’s figure. The school tax rate will increase by 4.2 cents over the current school tax rate of $1.21, resulting in an annual property tax increase of $153 on a Mahwah home with the average assessed value of $358,417. That school tax increase must be added to any increase in the township’s municipal budget, and any increase in the Bergen County property tax rate in order to determine the total property tax increase. To close the $748,838 gap between the district’s increased expenses and the state mandated four percent maximum tax levy increase, the board did not replace two individuals on leave of absence and cut one world language teaching posi- tion at Joyce Kilmer School; eliminated partial positions in Latin at Mahwah High School and at Ramapo Ridge Middle School; and eliminated a partial preschool position and one custodian’s position. In addition, full time paraprofessional positions, which include special education tutors, teacher’s aides and lunchtime aides, have been reduced to part-time positions in order to eliminate the health care costs associated with full time positions. Asked about the status of the negotiations with the teachers, whose contract expires June 30, he advised that those talks are continuing. He assured that “the board is committed to working diligently on behalf of the town.” Wendrychowicz received 904 votes and defeated incumbent trustee Prema Moorthy, who received 826 votes. Moorthy was appointed to the board last January to temporarily replace Denise Heitman who resigned. Wendrychowicz is a retired track and field coach from Suffern High School, where he was the library media specialist from 1968 to 2004. Prior to that, he was the elementary school librarian for the Mahwah school system. He has 39 years of experience in education and was school board president during two of his terms. Following the election, Wendrychowicz said he would keep his campaign promises. “Over the next two years, wherever I’m sitting at the board table there will be a little card with all the campaign promises I made to make sure I fulfill them,” he said. “Thank you to all the people of Mahwah.” He explained that those campaign promises include addressing the issue that the teachers are not paying anything toward their health insurance premiums, and preventing “any further slide by the high school towards mediocrity” by bringing core subject class sizes to reasonable levels. He also promised to “press for realistic cost cutting measures that will create the least disruption to our children’s education.” Young filmmakers Julia Bauer, Ender Ceylan, and Alfonso Carrion took part in the Mahwah Student Film & Video Festival. The three township filmmakers and their families, friends, and everyone involved in the making of their short films attended the recent screening. 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