Category Archives: Superintendent Karen Bilbao

Middletown school officials unhappy with $2.1 million budget cut

It will be interesting to see what action the school board takes when it votes on the adoption of the new school budget on May 26th. Will they accept the recommendations made by Gerry Scharfenberger and the Township Committee or will they look at other areas in the budget to cut the $2.1M from? Either way the prospects don’t sound good for the school system.

From the Asbury Park Press

MIDDLETOWN — Eliminating vice principal positions would jeopardize safety and the ability to implement state mandates, Schools Superintendent Karen Bilbao said she told township officials recently as they discussed prospective cuts to the district’s tax levy.

The Township Committee recommended eliminating two vice principal positions as part of its order Monday to cut nearly $2.1 million from a proposed $123.8 million tax levy that voters rejected last month.

Other recommended cuts are the jobs of one of the district’s two assistant business administrators, a night foreman and a public relations official.

The committee voted 4-0 Monday night to order the tax levy cut. Township Committeewoman Pamela Brightbill was absent.

Under the reduction, school property taxes would increase by 1.7 percent instead of 3.9 percent, Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante said. The school tax rate would increase by 2.3 cents instead of 4.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, he said.

“This is really going to impact the quality of education in the district,” Board of Education Vice President Dan Skelton said Tuesday. “I don’t know how we are going to continue.”

The final cuts contained several suggestions made by the district, Bilbao said, including an $803,878 adjustment to the health insurance plan appropriation, a savings of $465,829 by refinancing a bond and a $150,000 reduction in nursing services costs.

But the suggested administrative salary cuts — a vice principal from each high school at a savings of $130,000 annually each, a $126,000-a-year director position and a $91,000-a-year assistant business administrator position — came as a surprise to her, Bilbao said.

High School North has six assistant principals and a principal while High School South has five assistant principals and a principal. During the 2007-08 school year, High School North had 1,651 students while High School South had 1,451 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics website.

Appeal not likely

The board will meet in a special closed session later this week to discuss the additional cuts, said Bilbao, who anticipates a vote on the final budget during a May 26 meeting.

Barring a successful appeal to the Monmouth County schools superintendent, the school board must cut the amount the governing body ordered, but does not have to follow the committee’s recommendations on how to do so.

Skelton does not anticipate the district will attempt to appeal.

“I don’t know if this is the type of political climate where you can appeal,” Skelton said.

The committee initially was set to cut about $1.6 million, but decided to continue chopping after it received hundreds of e-mails from residents upset about their taxes, Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger said.

“There are going to be a lot of people complaining that we did not cut enough,” Scharfenberger said.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, budget cuts, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown Board of Education, School cuts, Superintendent Karen Bilbao

Middletown Schools In Investigation Mode

In a somewhat snarky recap of Wednesday nights Middletown Board of Education reorganization meeting, Dustin Racioppi of the, writes about how the school board has some more investigating to do before it can give answers to the public about services that will be effected once the Township Committee is finished with the review of the recently defeated school budget and make further cuts to it.

I think that until Superintendent Bilbao and the rest of the school board know exactly how much will be cut from the budget, it wouldn’t have been prudent to announce whether or not more teachers would be laid off, schools closed or after school programs eliminated. Many things are still up in the air and until a final number is issued by the Township Committee anything announced would be speculation:

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.”

Read more >>> Here

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Filed under budget cuts, Middletown Board of Education,, school budgets, School cuts, Superintendent Karen Bilbao

Middletown School Superintendent Teaches Partisan Politics: President’s Address to Students Will Not Be Heard

The 10,200 students that attend the Middletown school system will not be able to see or hear live, President Obama’s Address to Students later today.
It seems that school system superintendent Karen Bilbao, has decided to play politics with the President’s address and will not broadcast the the event live during the school day according to a report that was published Friday in the Asbury Park Press.
When first contacted by the Asbury Park Press on Thursday Bilbao explained that it was kind of late notice and schools may not have broadcasting equipment in place for the President’s broadcast.
Now, if that was truly the real reason for not allowing the students of the Middletown school system to participate in this historic broadcast I could understand, but when parents contacted the Board of Education to inquire about the broadcast they were told something completely different.
Parents were told that the real reason why the president’s address would not be heard by the students of the district was because of community outcry.
Community outcry? Give me a break!
This is nothing more than partisen politics at it’s worse and a total disregard for the office of the President of the United States.
I would like to know exactly who and how many people called the BOE to voice a complaint against the president’s address being broadcasted to Middletown students. It’s outragouse to allow a few partisan, mis-informed people spoil such an important message as telling your kids how important it is to stay in school and get a quality education.
But I suppose that telling kids to stay in school in order to receive a quality education is not as important to Superintendent Bilbao as a few right-wing district parents are.
As a concession, Bilbao stated that the presidents broadcast will be availible tomorrow on the districts website for anyone who wished to see it, and if teachers wished, they could incorporate the address into classroom curriculums but that students would not be required to participate in the lessons.


Filed under Address to Students, Asbury Park Press, community outcry, Midddletown Board of Education, President Obama, Superintendent Karen Bilbao