Category Archives: Laura Agin

Open Letter from Middletown BOE President Laura Agin Requesting Residents To Support This Years School Budget

To all the Middletown residents who will go the polls on April 20, I implore you to vote YES for the school budget. As a result of significant reductions in state aid to school districts, severe cuts are already included in the 2010-11 budget. The budget was developed with significant input from community stakeholders and their suggestions were incorporated into the difficult choices that were made. No area was left untouched.

Middletown has strived for efficiency. We have continually sought fiscally responsible ways to improve on the way we deliver instruction. We have developed programs to keep students in district thereby reducing costly out of district tuitions. We implemented, and will continue, full day kindergarten with the overwhelming support of the community at no additional cost to the taxpayers by strategically restructuring teaching assignments. We have decreased the need for support staff by introducing best practice instructional models in our elementary and middle schools while, at the same time, increasing overall test scores at these levels. We are continuing our efforts to implement the state mandated High School Redesign model at little or no cost to our community.

Middletown has tackled tough issues. We have already achieved cost savings by eliminating traditional insurance plans and increasing employee contributions to health care premiums. We have negotiated caps for accrued sick and vacation time. We have no bogus doctorates and we can assure that no employee of the Middletown school district will retire with a “Golden Parachute”. We are well ahead of the curve.

Despite these efficiencies, significant cuts ($10 million) are included in the Middletown school budget for 2010-11. These have been presented in forums, reported in the local media and outlined on our website www.middletownk12.org so I will not reiterate them here. I do feel, however, that I must address what has become an election target: Administrative Excess. Middletown has, over the years, continuously evaluated and restructured the administrative team based on ever-changing, district -wide needs. It is the administration who brings new initiatives to the district, develops ways to improve instruction, provides training and staff development and supervises the delivery of curriculum. With more than 10,000 students in 17 schools, good administration directly impacts students in the classroom and is required to ensure continuity and equity for all students. Our administrator to student ratio has been, and will continue to be, among the lowest in the county and well below the state average. As in all other areas of the budget, however, we will do more with less. This budget includes the elimination of 15% of the administrative staff in the district.

As community members come to me to speak about our budget, I know there is anger and frustration about what is happening to our schools. No one likes to see cuts of this magnitude. We have tried very hard to make reductions as equitable as possible in all areas without significantly impacting students in the classroom. Be angry, but don’t let that anger get in the way of good judgment. Let this be the worst-case scenario. A defeat to the budget will only bring further cuts to staffing, educational programs and extracurricular activities and the things that make you angry will not have changed. I am not asking you to like this budget but to vote YES because it is the best thing we can do for our children and our community. Our town is measured by the quality of our educational programs. Now is the time to come together as a community and continue to take pride in who we are.

Laura Agin
President
Middletown Township Board of Education


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Filed under budget cuts, Laura Agin, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown NJ, open letter, school budgets

Middletown Board of Education Announces Possible Plan To Install Artifical Turff Fields At Middle Schools

My son came home from school last week and asked me if I had heard anything about an artificial turf field being planned for installation in the field that is part of Thorne Middle school’s campus? I told him that I had not, but that I had heard that new fields were going to be install at the Croydon Hall complex and over at River Plaza. When I asked him why he had asked, he mentioned that all of the kids had been talking about it during the day. 
I didn’t think much of at the time because when you deal with teenage middle schoolers anything can come out of them at any moment.

Today however I find out from the Asbury Park Press, that the Board of Education announced last night that a presentation will be made by the Township at the regular board meeting on Wednesday, May 27th, on a plan to install artificial turf fields at Thompson and Thorne Middle Schools and that Board President Laura Agin, has invited the entire Township Committee to be present at the presentation of this proposal.

Is this really a good idea at this time and are these fields going to be at the expense of the township? There are so many unanswered questions to this proposal.

I am not opposed to these fields, but  I do question if we have the funds to be spending millions of dollars on fields when there are infrastructure problems that are of higher priority? The town is experiencing a $2.4 million budget shortfall which equates to over a 9% tax increase in order to balance the budget.

If these fields are to be built all questions need to be answered. The BOE will not decide this right away, they need to hear all of the concerns, discuss all of the details and then make a decision.

As we all know, they are very familiar with turf field installation due to past experiences. The BOE needs to hear from everyone so that they understand there are more than Pop Warner and soccer parents that have concerns and since this proposal involves township residents, ALL discussions must be held in public.

That is why it is imperative for all concerned residents to attend and voice their opinion at the next Board of Education meeting on May 27th. 

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Asbury Park Press, Laura Agin, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown Township Committee

>Middletown School Board President Denounces Recall Petition

>Middletown Board of Education president Laura Agin, denounced the recall petition efforts of Middletown GOP cronies James Cody, Anthony Testa, and Kathleen Bjelka, to have fellow board member and current Democratic Candidate for Township committee Patrica Walsh removed from the BOE by stating:

“The Middletown Township Board of Education is in receipt of the recall petition for Pat Walsh, and on behalf of the board, I believe this petition is completely without merit,”…

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Filed under Laura Agin, Midddletown Board of Education, Patricia Walsh, recall

Middletown School Board President Denounces Recall Petition

Middletown Board of Education president Laura Agin, denounced the recall petition efforts of Middletown GOP cronies James Cody, Anthony Testa, and Kathleen Bjelka, to have fellow board member and current Democratic Candidate for Township committee Patrica Walsh removed from the BOE by stating:

“The Middletown Township Board of Education is in receipt of the recall petition for Pat Walsh, and on behalf of the board, I believe this petition is completely without merit,”…

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Filed under Laura Agin, Midddletown Board of Education, Patricia Walsh, recall