Red Bank Schools Superintendent Laura Morana talks to the local press Thursday about the district’s bleak budget outlook . (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The waiting, as Tom Petty sings, is the hardest part. Only, he wasn’t working on a multimillion dollar school budget when he penned that tune.
Laura Morana, like so many school administrators in New Jersey who must have drafts of next year’s budgets turned in soon, is playing the waiting game, left in the dark by Gov. Chris Christie’s somewhat nebulous pledge to freeze state aid to school districts in order to make up for a huge budget gap.
When she sat down on Thursday to talk with the local press, the Red Bank schools superintendent was bouncing between budget meetings, just a couple of the many she’s had in the last couple weeks.
She’s already reconciled with the fact that the state is in a financial hurt locker. She’s even OK with dipping into the district’s $701,000 surplus to compensate for the reduction in aid, albeit begrudgingly. But considering she has to have a draft 2010-11 budget turned into the county prior to Christie’s state budget presentation on March 16, Morana would like to know what to expect.
“Right now we’re dealing with a million questions and nothing else. No answers,” she said. “You just don’t even know.”