M’TOWN GOES ONLINE FOR BOE BUDGET INPUT

mtwon-screenshotMiddletown’s website offers a link to submit comments and suggestions on cuts to the schools budget. (click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

So you’ve got an idea how to trim the Middletown schools budget, but can’t make a municipal meeting. Or you’re nervous about putting your ideas out there in public. Maybe you just don’t want to get out of your pajamas and make a trip to town hall.

The good news is that you can sit tight at the computer desk and still be productive.

Middletown officials, who are in the midst of working with the board of ed on trimming the district’s  voter-rejected budget, are now taking suggestions and ideas online from residents to get a sense how the bottom line can be reduced.

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M’TOWN SCHOOLS IN ‘INVESTIGATION’ MODE

mtown-boeTwo of the three newly-elected board of ed members, Vincent Brand, left, and Chris Aveta, at Wednesday night’s meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Middletown Board of Education could staff a detective bureau with all the investigating it’s doing and has ahead.

Investigating was the buzzword from the district Superintendent Karen Bilbao Wednesday night when pushed for details on where and how cuts would be made to the district’s $140.3 million budget, which was rejected by voters last week.

As in, will more teachers have to be laid off? She’s investigating.

Or, will there be redistricting, or school closings, as Bilbao has hinted at before?

“Closing a school or more than one school is one of the areas we said needed to be investigated,” Bilbao said.

“We are investigating a lot of things at this point.”

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UNION TAKES FREEZE, AND GUV HAS PRAISE

hot-topic right[Update: This article replaces an earlier version, which cited contract terms that Superintendent Laura Morana says were reported incorrectly in both the Asbury Park Press and the Star-Ledger.]

Gov. Chris Christie has offered pointed praise for a pact, finalized late last week, under which Red Bank teachers agreed to a three-year wage freeze.

Christie’s called out the deal was in an opinion piece under his byline in the Star-Ledger Sunday. That followed Thursday night’s ratification by both the teachers’ union and the Red Bank Board of Ed of a contract that will bump each of the district’s 130 teachers up to the next pay grade in two of the three years, Superintendent Laura Morana tells redbankgreen.

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