Who is Behind The Middletown Budget Awareness Committee ?


Has anyone noticed the signs popping up all over Middletown like the one posted to the right?

The signs are from a group calling themselves the Middeltown Budget Awareness Committee.
I wasn’t familiar with this group until I saw these signs spring up along the roadside and decided to ask around to see if anyone could enlighten me.
I was informed by a friend who just happens to know the Chairperson of the committee, that The Middletown Budget Awareness Committee is a group who supports the BOE with their budget plans. They try and get public support so the budget gets passed and the signs reflect what Trenton is doing by taking back the surplus money that the BOE wanted to use for tax relief and new programs.
My friend reached out to the Chairperson of the Middeltown Budget Awareness Committee on my behalf for more information and I was sent the following statement:
The Middletown school budget has traditionally been built applying funds called Budgeted Tax Relief. These are funds that may be “left over” (surplus) from previous years’ budgets due to economies put in place during the school year. The funds that were squeezed out of that budget were returned to the taxpayers as tax relief to fund next year’s budget (hence the title “budgeted tax relief” and not surplus). So the “tax relief” funds arises from the District being able to save X amount of dollars of the previous budget by implementing cost-saving measures (such as a good year’s negotiations for medical coverage, installing efficient utility systems, etc.), and those savings are used when crafting the next year’s budget to “relieve – basically lower” the levy of local taxes to a level the taxpayers hopefully find acceptable.

Part of budgeting would also normally include allocating a portion of any remaining funds to the “capital reserve” fund to support future capital improvements (infrastructure, systems, fields). The state has taken .5M of Middletown’s accumulated capital reserves.

With the state taking the tax relief and reserves, the District has to rely on “real tax dollars” from this year, as well as pulling remaining capital reserve. Keep in mind that the State often imposes mandates on Districts without funding them. What this means is when the state says “you must have full-day kindergarten,” and there are specific regulations as to the physical structure of a kindergarten classroom, a district must fund that out of somewhere.

VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: 84% of the funds that the Governor authorized to withhold from Middletown are local taxpayer dollars. Senator J. Kyrillos, at the Middletown BOE Forum last week, admitted he had no idea the funds that were taken were predominantly funded by local taxpayer dollars. It appears he assumed that the funds were 100% state aid dollars held in reserve and therefore the state was still funding the approved budget by withholding committed funds and saying “keep the funds you already have from us.” For the 2009-2010 school budget year Middletown was supposed to receive only 16% in state aid (versus 41% average across the state). The checks have now stopped, and Middletown has been directed to use our $2.3 million tax relief and $.5 million capital reserves to cover the state’s shortfall. IF THE STATE IS WITHDRAWING STATE AID, THEY SHOULD ONLY BE TAKING 16% of $2.8 MILLION, NOT ALL OF IT. 84% OF THAT IS MIDDLETOWN DOLLARS RAISED FOR MIDDLETOWN CHILDREN!!

WE PAID OUR STATE TAXES. WE PAID OUR LOCAL TAXES SPECIFICALLY FOR MIDDLETOWN. NOW OUR STATE TAXES ARE GONE, SO OUR STATE AID IS GONE, AND THEY WANT OUR LOCAL REAL ESTATE TAXES TO SUPPORT THE ENTIRE STATE!

So where does Middletown stand right now? Based on the funding the state has withdrawn, and assuming that the state aid of 16% from last year is not reduced (highly unlikely), and also assuming that the Middletown taxpayers vote to pass the current budget on April 20th, we can expect to lose 36 teachers (in addition to 28 other positions ranging from Administration to Facilities). That is the “best case scenario” as we stand right now. If the Middletown voters vote to not pass the budget, the budget is presented to the township committee who can vote to cut the budget further, resulting in even more cuts.

The worst-case scenario is that the state follows through on a full 15% cut to Middletown’s current funding, which would result in a potential loss of over 80 teachers, additional positions, and program cuts! If the Middletown voters will not pass even that budget, additional positions and programs will have to be cut to make up for a potential township cut.

Think about the impact of 80+ families in Middletown and the surrounding areas losing their income. This is not an issue just affecting Middletown; this situation is happening across over 600 districts in this state. Lost jobs equals loss of income tax and sales tax to the state. Lost jobs equals unemployment, and the state has said the unemployment system is bankrupt. Lost jobs equals loss of property tax when families leave NJ for a cheaper place to live.

The Middletown Budget Awareness Committee, Inc.

Relevant documentation:

BOE forum presentation and spread sheets @ http://www.middletownk12.org/superintendent/files/FINAL%20Presentation%20without%20NOTES.pdf.

The text of the speech given by President Laura Agin of the Middletown Board of Education @
http://www.dollarsandsense.bz/.

In my opinion, this is a fight that parents with school kids need to get involved with and support the Middeltown Budget Awareness Committee and the Middeltown Board of Education. Not only will there be a lay-off of teachers and supporting school staff,l but there will be after school programs cut as well with little or no money for new books or other essential supplies available for the students use.

And if that wasn’t bad enough after all the $2.8 million in budget cuts are over with, the School Board will still have to raise the tax rate just to maintain what is left for next year.

Middletown needs this money to maintain what they have and hopefully the Christie Administration will come to their senses and realize that by taking surplus money away from
school districts across the state to plug his own budget gap is wrong and will return the portion of the surplus that was not directly due to aid payments from Trenton.

18 Comments

Filed under budget cuts, Gov. Chris Christie, Joe Kyrillos, Middeltown Board of Education, Middeltown Budget Awareness Committee, School cuts, Trenton

18 responses to “Who is Behind The Middletown Budget Awareness Committee ?

  1. Mike,Thank you so much for puting this on your site. This is a very complicated issue and the information you provided is extremely valuable. I hope your readers will understand the crisis we are now facing in this town.The BOE has been managing very efficently and to have our money taken away like this is just wrong.Hopefully when Trenton sees their mistake, this will be rectified.

  2. Mike,You didn't answer your own question: Who is behind The Middletown Budget Awareness Committee?

  3. Yes I did, or at least I thought I did.The Budget Awareness Committee is a group composed of Moms with kids in the school system who supports the BOE in getting their budgets passed. That's really all that needs to be known isn't it?

  4. No Mike, what needs to be known is who is behind the Budget Awareness Committee.I see no name, no address and no phone number on the signs. You obviously won't provide the names. Seems to me that some one has something to hide.

  5. Maybe the MTC wants a membership list so they can try and intimidate or persecute someone. Recent rumors even indicate the administration at town hall is backing a slate of candidates to challenge our current BOE members.. Integrity not a strong point in this administration. A. Fiore's name is some of the petitions. WHY ?????One thing this town does not need and that is the MTC meddling in running our school system.

  6. Anonymous,I don't think anyone has anything to hide.If I had the info directly from the sourse as opposed to having it forwarded to me I would post the information.Before your last comment I emailed the person who forwarded the information to me to ask for more specifics. When I get the actual contact info I will post it.

  7. Thanks Mike, I'm looking forward to it.

  8. So why doesn't the BOE present a plan to cut salaries and benefits for everyone instead of laying off teachers… oh that's right their union would never allow it and would rather see 80 of their members lose their jobs. Set up teachers union and do the right thing for everyone not just your seniormost teachers and union officials!

  9. For those who wish to know:The Coordinators for the Budget Awareness committee are Kathy Noah and Rina DiMaio.There are 17 representatives; one from each Middletown school.

  10. Mike,I am aware no one has anything to hide on the Budget Awareness Group but I am very aware of just how low some in the administration of this community are willing to stoop in trying to intimidate and persecute to get what they want.BTW I have no affiliation with anyone concerning this issue. Just an observer of politics in this town and are they ever SICK !! To try and interfere with our school board should be the last straw for the residents of Middletown. Send this MTC majority packing !!Maybe we need to know the what and the who and the why about the "Middletown Morning" Group also that meets once a month at the pancake house in Middletown.It's a free country and this nation's citizens have the right to assemble in case this mayor and his cronies are ignorant of that fact.

  11. Now that you posted the actual names of the people from the BAC, I hope the person who suggested that Mike had something to hide is satisfied with his response. Yes, there are actual people, with no political agenda, who volunteer a great deal of their time to explain in painful detail as to why we have this budget crisis. An educated public can hopefully now make informed decisions and conclusions.

  12. the Middletown Moring Group, sounds sinister!If you have a date and time the group meets let me know and I'll pop in one morning.I wonder if this is the same group that Queen Judy Stanley would hold "court" with Saturday mornings at her castle.

  13. Mike,Not aware of Queenie attending but Joan Smith has and Amy Handlin spoke last month ( think she was invited to talk ).So far it looks like a group of young women republicans being brainwashed by the establishment unless the observation is wrong.Will keep you posted and join you for coffee.

  14. If the Middletown Budget Awareness Committee was so concerned about the BOE budget maybe they could push to ask the BOE not to have all the schools spend their reserves in June, or perhaps giving the truth about state aid for the full day kindergarten classes, which was a disaster of decision on the BOE's part, now trying to hide it in the budget crisis.

  15. Maybe your reader should check their facts and actually read the BAC statement. The all day kindergarten was a result of the stimulus package. The money that the state took was not from state aid. It's tax payer money that was held in reserve and taken back by the state. Take your arguement to Trenton not the BOE.The BOE is trying get your money back, so why don't you give them a little support instead of blaming them for something they didn't do.

  16. It amazes me how year after year they keep raising taxes the MAXIMUM amount that they are allowed to and just expect us to pay it. Enough is enough. I wish i could have a pension, paid medical leave, and start at $50,000 a yr like these teachers do. The teachers, administrators, and the rest of the unionized labor needs a wakeup call. They cant find jobs in the private sector paying this well with these platinum benefits. i am not just voting NO I am voting HELL NO. Without concessions from these unions i will not vote the other way for a long time. GO CHRISTIE!!

  17. Thanks for reporting this. Its unfortunate that the town can't see the long term vision of losing so many staff members. Do the parents really want to see huge class sizes and services cut? Yes your taxes go down or stay the same, but as soon as tests scores go down and the district starts to lose its shine, then property values will go down also and then you definitely will have lower taxes. Home values are somewhat tied to the value of the school district. I can't see young families wanting to continue to move to a district with these cuts. Other districts in our DFG are willing to pay to maintain the high quality of their schools. You get what you pay for.

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