Andrew Mandel writes:
I am glad to see that state representatives Ken Zebrowski, Ellen Jaffee and David Carlucci have written a letter to Commissioner Elia (attached) with two points: (1) the district should advance a revised budget to voters with the same level of services for public school students in the originally submitted tax-cap compliant budget and (2) the Commissioner should be reviewing this budget, given the law passed last June. This sounds promising, particularly if public school advocates are comfortable with the details before it is put to voters, and would give the Commissioner a chance to restore trust and faith in state involvement. While ERCSD meetings are often subject to change, please put the evening of TUESDAY, JUNE 4 on your calendar for the next school board meeting so that you can share your views on what will be happening with next year’s budget.
From the Zebrowski/Jaffee/Carlucci letter: “As you know, the budget did not receive more than the required sixty percent needed to override the tax cap. The budget’s failure places the strides that have been made in the past year at risk. An austerity budget would be detrimental to the students and would erase the restorations made to previously cut programs.
Despite the override’s failure, we believe that the district should put forth a revised budget to the voters which maintains the level of services for the public school students that were in the originally submitted tax cap compliant budget. The revised budget, which would be put to a vote on June 20th, should be subject to Commissioner’s approval under the provisions of Chapter 89 of 2016. Both the letter and spirit of the law requires that any “proposed budget for the next succeeding school year” be subject to a review by the Commissioner.
We feel that a budget review by your office would be appropriate given the divide in the community as seen in the budget vote’s results. This is an opportunity to bring all sides together around a budget that will continue to move the school district forward rather than deepening the divide.”