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: lauriegood@mac.com

Friday, March 11, 2011

Budget 2011: What a difference a year makes.

The administrators reviewed the proposed 2011-12 budget for Ridgewood Public Schools at our Board of Ed meeting last Monday, and what a different experience that was, compared to this time last year. You can click here to download the budget spreadsheet, but the bottom line is this: With no cuts to staff or programs, the proposed budget features the lowest tax increase in at least 17 years, and is likely the lowest increase since 1986 (when the Glen School was closed).*

According to the budget presented, the tax levy would increase 2%, the maximum allowed by law. This translates into $23.94 per $100,000 assessed value, or $191 for the average assessed Ridgewood home.**

This time last year, we were struggling to make cuts totaling $6 million (following a prior year of cuts). We did it. It wasn’t easy. It was painful. And the District is still coping with the fallout. But we’re coping relatively well. Thankfully, a last-minute promise of some funding from the state, combined with austerity budgets from school principals and Ed Center administration, headed off additional cuts this year.

Residents will go to the polls to vote on the budget on April 27. I encourage all voters to review the budget and watch for the official District Newsline which will arrive in mailboxes. You should also keep an eye out for a postcard announcing community open forum sessions, where everyone will be invited to find out where the budget numbers come from and what it all means in terms of programs and the day-to-day classroom experience.

Any questions, you can post here. Or you can email me directly lauriegood@mac.com. Or email budget12@ridgewood.k12.nj.us and Dr. Fishbein will answer.

*I have tax information going back to 1994 and can confirm that the lowest tax increase over the past 17 years was $206 in 1995. I’m waiting to compile tax data back to 1986. I’ll update this post when I get it.

**According to the Village of Ridgewood, the average assessed Ridgewood home value is $797,422.


Anonymous said...

So how much is it going to cost to clean and repair Stevens, Maple and the RHS Stadium?

You have to ask yourself, why did we build 3 turf fields in flood zones?

Laurie said...

Sorry for the delay in responding, I was out of town...

The cost for RHS Stadium and Stevens will not be much more than it would have been if the fields were still grass/mud. They would still need to be cleaned of silt, mud and debris, and they would still be cleaned or disinfected for potential contaminants. There will be incremental cost due to artificial turf, but the bulk of the cost will be the same as it would have been without turf.

One positive difference will be how much more quickly the fields will be back in use. Vigorous cleaning would have damaged the young grass and likely would have kept the fields out of use for the entire spring season. As of now it looks like the fields will be open this weekend and/or Monday.

(I don't know about the Village's plans/costs for Maple.)

To your second question, we built the turf fields where the athletic fields already existed, and transformed them into fields which will recover much more quickly from the inevitable floods.

Anonymous said...

How much is, "not that much more... if the fields were still grass?"

Laurie said...

Dr. Fishbein will give a more detailed report at the BOE meeting on Monday night, and he will break down the dollars at that time. I don't want to give out misleading information. I promise I'll come back here and post the information following Monday's meeting.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say I agree with the prior post that you should not make such cost comparisons between cleanup of grass and turf with a glib opinion not based on any facts. Trust me the public is much smarter to see right through that.
Stick with THE FACTS and all of us will be better off. Also take a look at Vets where with a little work and very little money spent the fields look good now & will be better later this week. You also said that without turf we would have lost the entire Spring season. PLEASE you are too smart to make such statements which are just opinions. Stick with THE FACTS and take a look at Vets where the fields right now and playability is just as good as the new fields.
You are too smart to come off like this. With an initial estimate of
over $20,000 and more how you could say initially that costs were comparable is really absurd.
Plus keep in mind the new fields are still closed because there is no guarantee at this point that you will be able to fully clean up these fields back to their original condition. This is a monster job of a cleanup to get all the silt and mud off both fields fully from bottom up. I hope it can be done. From afar the
fields look good but up close the
condition and playing quality of the fields is poor.
Let's all from here on in stick to THE FACTS. Why not let FIELD TURF
come down and tell us how we are doing. They don't warranty their turf in a flood plain for a reason.
But we should get their more objective opinion as to how our maintenance of the fields by you and Dakota is going. Why not do this now? We all want the fields to be top notch and last its lifespan. My opinion is because its in the floodway the lifespan will be shortened, the quality and playability of the field will be compromised and never as good as when it was delivered PLUS we will spend 6 figures and more over the next several years in flood remedial repairs. Now that's my opinion. I would like to hear FIELD
TURF'S assessment. I don't think the BOE will ask for it but maybe we will.

Laurie said...

My comment Thursday was based on the facts I had at that time, and after being out of town for 6 days. You are right -- as I posted late last night -- that we need current facts. That's why I said let's get them tomorrow night from Dr. Fishbein and in public, where everyone can hear the info first hand and not rely on rumors, hearsay or comments from custodians and whatnot.

I will argue with your assessment of Vets however. I know first hand that Vets is one of the worst, most dangerous playing surfaces in town. It is nowhere near the "playability" of the RHS turf fields, not before the rain and certainly not after. I ran over it yesterday and saw myself.

Finally, my opinion as to possible lost time was based on the reality of what happened after Hurricane Floyd. Vets and Maple were out of service for many weeks. You're right that it was my opinion, but based on history.

Thanks for posting.