MORANA: SCHOOL TAX COULD’VE BEEN WORSE

By WIL FULTON

Red Bank’s school board unanimously approved the borough’s 2013-2014 school budget at the Thursday night before a small group of residents and school officials at the primary school.

The spending plan weighed in at $13.2 million, up $522,503, or 4.1 percent, from last year. The increase might have topped 8 percent, had the district chosen to employ “banked cap,” a method that allows districts to exceed the state-mandated limits on budget growth, said Superintendent Laura Morana.

But “when we thought about the impact [the tax levy] would have on households, and families for community members in Red Bank, we decided it was too high,” Morana said. “We wanted to be responsive to the needs of our children – meeting their educational needs, having the appropriate personnel, supplies and technology – but at the same time, we needed to think about the members of our community, and really think about the impact on the community.”

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UP: INSURANCE, ENROLLMENT & SCHOOL TAX

Red Bank property owners could face a 5.6-percent increase on their borough school tax bills, according to a report in Tuesday’s Asbury Park Press.

A proposed $22.8 million budget for the 2013-2014 school year,  introduced Monday night, calls for a 5.64-percent increase that board of education members blamed on soaring insurance costs and a five percent increase in the student population, the newspaper reported.

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SCHOOL ARTS TO GET INSTRUCTOR BOOST

Count Basie CEO Adam Philipson and director of education Yvonne Lamb Scudiery meet the press on Tuesday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Red Bank’s youngest students can expect an extra-dose of performance-art based teaching in their upcoming curriculum, thanks in part to the hometown Count Basie Theatre and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.

Borough schools Superintendent Laura Morana was joined by new Basie CEO Adam Philipson and director of education Yvonne Lamb Scudiery during her monthly press meeting at middle school Tuesday to help detail the Kennedy Center’s upcoming workshops for teachers, designed to help them understand the importance of performing arts as a part of overall education.

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NAACP DRAWS ATTENTION TO SCHOOLS

rb-boe-040711About a dozen residents turned out at St. Paul Baptist Church in Red Bank Thursday night for the latest in a series of budget presentations given in recent weeks by schools Superintendent Laura Morana, with mic above. A Q&A with board of ed candidates followed at the event, hosted by the Greater Red Bank Branch of the NAACP.

The $15 million budget would raise the district’s portion of the local tax bill by $40 on a residence assessed at the borough average. Voting on the spending plan, and for board seats, is April 27, when polls are open from 2p to 9p. (Click to enlarge)

SCHUNDLER PLANS RED BANK STOP

primary-school

Department of Education Commissioner Bret Schundler is scheduled to visit the primary school tomorrow. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler plans on spending a little time checking out what school’s like in Red Bank tomorrow.

At the request of state Senator Jen Beck, Schundler will spend an hour at the primary school getting a glimpse of classroom instruction and will be treated to some music, said superintendent Laura Morana.

What he won’t get, says Morana, is any grousing about the Christie Administration’s budget-slashing, which left the two-school Red Bank district with just $24,000 in state aid this year, not counting funds for its highly regarded pilot pre-kindergarten program.

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MORANA: “WE’RE NOT GETTING ANYTHING”

IMG_6290While dedicated funding will pay for an expansion of the pre-K program, nearly all of the remaining state aid would be passed through to the Red Bank Charter School, Morana says.

The news from Trenton had Red Bank school officials elated, disappointed and “confused” all at once yesterday.

Elated because the state allotment of funds to schools under Governor Chris Christie’s austerity plan will put enough money into the district for an expansion of its highly regarded pilot pre-kindergarten program.

But baffled and deeply let down because, as it stands, the borough will net just $24,000 for all other needs, after deducting funds the two-school district is obligated to pass-through to the Red Bank Charter School.

Against a proposed $19.9 million spending plan, the state’s contribution is barely perceptible, says Superintendent Laura Morana.

“We’re not getting anything at all,” she told redbankgreen yesterday. It’s so perplexing to local officials that they are pressing the Christie administration for an explanation.

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