Emailed to parents today and also available on the District website:
Dear Ridgewood Parents and Guardians,
I write this important letter to you to let you know that a defeated budget does not mean a defeated school system. The Ridgewood schools are strong and the Board and I are committed to keeping them that way.
During the budget presentation process I explained what occurs if the budget is defeated. The process is a complicated one, influenced by state law and regulation, as well as current levels of taxation and spending. The procedure is as follows: The Assistant Superintendent for Business and I prepare a significant amount of state-required documentation about the district's finances, which is then reviewed by the Village Council to establish the school tax levy. After reviewing the materials, the Village Council will recommend one of three options for the 2010-2011 school budget: an increase in the tax levy, a decrease in the tax levy, or no change in the tax levy. If the Village Council requires a decrease in the tax levy (an additional reduction in the budget), the Board will then determine what specific items will be cut to reach that number. When this process is complete our budget will go to the Executive County Superintendent, who can make further changes if he thinks they are necessary. The Village must reach its decision on the 2010-2011 school tax levy by May 19.
These are challenging times for schools and communities. There are harsh realities, including layoffs and program cuts. These realities must be dealt with as intelligently and humanely as possible. However, challenging times can also provide a springboard for cooperation, creativity and renewed commitment to the values and ideas that Ridgewood residents hold most dear. Our obligation as administrators, teachers, Board members and a community is to make sure that our schools remain strong through sustainable budgeting, innovative instruction and ongoing collaboration with the Village Council, our parents and taxpayers, our faculty and staff, and all of our other constituencies.
Ridgewood is a community that has always actively valued education. That's why I chose to live here and educate my own children in this district. The opportunity to safeguard Ridgewood's legacy of educational excellence and lead our schools to greater levels of rigor and diversity for all of our students is also why I chose to work here. Together I know that we can embrace this difficult time and find opportunities for growth.
Thank you for your continued support as we engage in the next steps of the 2010-2011 budget process.
Superintendent of Schools
Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org