SECAUCUS – The Secaucus Town Council planned to hold a closed executive meeting Monday night to finalize its list of proposed cuts to the 2011-2012 school budget, a budget that was rejected by voters last month during the Board of Education elections.
Last month during the Board of Education elections, voters rejected the proposed $33.1 million budget that was drafted by Schools Superintendent Cynthia Randina and school trustees. The 2011-2012 school year budget had called for a 3.3 percent tax increase. Since then, in accordance with state law, members of the Town Council and other town officials have been working to cut spending from the plan.
The committee includes Town Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Margaret Barkala; Acting Tax Collector Nick Goldsack (who is also a CFO); Town Administrator David Drumeler; Deputy Mayor John Bueckner; Councilman Robert Costantino; and Mayor Michael Gonnelli. The committee has also received input from Acting School Board Business Administrator Ron Smith, Town Attorney Anthony D’Elia, and the town auditors.
Much of the budget trimming has been done by the members of this committee, although Randina and a few board members have also been involved in the process.
By law, the rejected school budget must be revised and submitted to the county school superintendent by this Thursday, May 19.
Since taking the helm of the school district in 2008, Randina has come under fire for her spending priorities. The local teachers’ union and many parents have criticized the superintendent for hiring what they believe are too many administrators. However, Randina has countered that she has actually saved money through attrition and combining administrative job titles.
The Town Council is scheduled to meet with Randina, Smith, and the Board of Education trustees this Wednesday, May 18, beginning at noon to finalize the budget and tax levy that will be sent to the county. That closed executive session will be followed by a public hearing at which the revised tax levy will be announced to taxpayers. – E. Assata Wright