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From emails we're getting here at Navigator, we see that Livingston Schools are cutting approximately 80 jobs...teacher aids and specials, GT classes in some of the arts, and want the board to freeze pay increases for next year.  So, the children who NEED those assistances won't have that extra help, those who want GT classes won't get it, and once teachers are let go, class sizes increase. Don't our real estate taxes (which just jumped dramatically) pay for these services?  Seems like there are more homes and apartments than ever in town...so where's the money?

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Ask our Superindent and all his adminstrative staff as well as the Abbott school districts. Our money is not going directly to the schools. Abbott districts have no accountability for the money they receive.
As usual, someone might have written a comment without attending the meeting last night and hearing all of the facts. First, due to cuts from Trenton, the proposed budget needs to be trimmed by $5,100,000 to make up in the elimination of any aid to Livingston. One part of the discussion was to cut 85 positions, with benefits, and rehire about 100 people, but without benefits. This would, hopefully, retain class sizes, but save taxpayers about $750,000 of the $5.1 Million. Some programs would be cut or moved around, again to save money. Many possibilities were discussed, and some hard choices will have to be made. Most of this is due to the State mandates and their budget shortfall. Hard choices are also going to be made at the Township level. Bottom line, without these choices and cuts, as I have heard from attending both Township and BOE budget meetings, presuming we keep the status quo and make no cuts, the average homwowner could expect a tax increase of an aggregate of about $850. Livingston residents on food stamps doubled last year, and many more have joined the ranks of those in the poverty level, due to the economy and unemployment. Let's have some compassion for those of us who need the help.
Walter,
With all due respect, you and many others are pretty naive to think that because the districts (and I include the one I work for as well as Livingston, West Orange, et al) say that they are cutting about 80+ paraprofessionals with benefits but will hire them back without the benefits that the folks who have been riffed (reduction in force) will actually accept the new terms of employment.

First, we lose the benefits. Most who are working in these positions do so for the benefits. Second, we are told that while contracts with the ERESC have not yet been finalized, we can expect to receive betw. $10-15/hour wage which is a lot less than we are earning now, and third, that we might be able to get assigned, ON A PART TIME BASIS WITH JOB SHARING, to our same districts so that we can help our same students. Gee, pretty good bargain for the districts if that actually happens. But I have a News Flash: Not likely to happen. I for one, who has a Master's plus and years of experience, am not going to work for less than cart pushers at Costco (and yes, I know what they make... my son does exactly that) and neither do many of the experienced Paras plan to take that deal either. And there is no guarantee that each district will pay the same hourly wage so why would anyone who is considering working part time for less money not indicate that they wish to be assigned to the district that pays the most and refuse to go elsewhere? What will happen, is that the folks who work as lunch aides and before and after school aides, lovely people by the way but not typically college educated, will apply for the Para jobs and be happy to take them because it will be a step up for them in both hours and wages. All that is required to be a Para is a HS diploma yet districts currently boast that most of their paras have college degrees and many have advanced degrees. So our neediest students will have well-meaning but inexperienced assistance in the classroom. Additionally, the Paras will no longer be responsible to the principal or teachers to which they are assigned. They will show up at class time and leave after the students leave. They will not be required to attend the professional staff development meetings at their schools. There will not be continuity betw. those on the morning shift and those on the afternoon shift, or, those on the M-W shift and those who work the end of the week. Kiss comnunication and collaboration goodbye.

As a fiscal conservative, I recognize the "value" of cutting 80+ benefited positions, but as a Para and as a mother whose children were themselves fragile and benefited from experienced supplemental assistance, I also recognize the decline in value of the service that will be provided and the subsequent loss of value to our most special resource - our children. There are supervisory positions that can be eliminated.and other options that can be exercised.
Good explanation Beth. You're right....the "value" proposition looks good on paper...but directly (negatively) impacts the Paras, their families and ultimately, the children in the school system.
I don't even have children in school Navigator Squirrel and I'm upset. Where are all our tax dollars going?
It boggles my mind that the Townships' officials continue to spend with no end budget in mind when we are losing teachers. Yea, just increase the taxes, it's not their money. Where does all the money go? They just keep raising taxes as the cure all. At some point there is going to be rebellion against this nonsense. Empty nesters are going to leave the minute their children are out of school. I have another year and I 'm out of this town w/the crooked official and I know plenty more people who are waiting for graduation dates like I am so they can leave. Then who's going to pay for those increases?
http://thealternativepress.com/article.asp?news=11255&Livingsto...$4,466,199-in-Cuts;-More-Cuts-Yet-to-be-Made

"All told, the cuts and savings amount to $4,466,199. However, this may not be enough. The tax impact of the cuts will still result in an increase of $477 on the average household."

THIS DOES NOT EVEN INCLUDE THE TOWNSHIP BUDGET. UGH!
AS A PARENT - I attended a PTA/BOE meeting this week on the budget. And while I can be moved to vote for the budget given the circumstances of all the cuts by the state, the average homeowner is looking at a $346 property tax increase (or $28 a month) on a budget that is 1.8% less than this years budget (with all the cuts by the state and BOE) - I am still hesitant to vote yes.

The township has yet to inform the residents in print or email blasts the grand impact of the state cuts and budget. Yes this week's WET has an article - but I did not see an estimate on if property taxes will go up.

I realize the BOE and Township budgets are completely seperate. The BOE was mandated to have a budget ready to vote for April 20th. The township is waiting on the state budget - which means numbers will not be until this summer.

AS A PROPERTY TAXPAYER - I want to know what the end result will be so I can collectively know if I can vote in favor of the BOE budget. As it stands right now I can afford the increase if the budget passes - however if the township budget causes property taxes to increase $200, $300, $400 or more - I would rethink this. Unfortuantely we do not have the power to vote on the township budget.
Is the $345 just the BOE budget impact + township budget addition? Would appreciate any clarification. Thanks.
$346 increase is just on the BOE Budget.

Does anyone know if the teachers union agreed to the salary freeze and 1.5% benefit payment?

There's been no true indication on the Township budget - and I doubt there will be since the township budget is not finalized till the summer - and we have no voting impact on it. Any cuts they plan to make though sound to be made May 1st - effecting several township jobs to lessen the impact when the budget is finalized.
Thanks for the feedback. First of all, the Town should start considering layoffs, the whole world is affected, why shouldn't the Town? I need town officials to work, not be busy appearing in multiple pictures in the weekly Tribune.

I got word about the BOE budget vote from Jessica Ganz, but didn't quite understand. What happens if the budget doesn't get voted in on 4/20? she indicated again, that it'd go back to the Council where it makes recommendations, then back to the Board, etc. I don't care about the process, I care more about where that money will go to. In other words, what I
wanted to know was, what would happen to the money which would have been available if it were to be passed? does it go to another project? back to the state? I think the answer would help a lot of people make an informed decision....appreciate any feedback.
If the budget passes - there is still no money coming from the state. All financal aid from the state has been cut. If the budget fails - potentially more cuts will be made and its practically impossible to cut another $4.3 Million to have $0 in property tax increases.

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