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Belleville School Budget Contains Zero Tax Increase

School board holds the line on costs for a second straight year.

The Belleville Board of Education passed the final 2012-2013 school budget containing a zero dollar tax increase

The budget passed at a meeting Monday night and includes no tax increase for a home assessed at $244,562, which is the average value of a home in Belleville, according to Edward Appleton, board of education secretary/business administrator. This is the second  year in a row that the average tax bill has not risen.

The $61.3 million budget goes before voters April 17 for approval or rejection, and contains no reductions in instructional personnel, including all teachers. There are no cuts to academic  programs, afterschool clubs or athletic programs, said Superintendent of Schools Joseph Picardo. The budget increased by more than $650,000 from the 2011-2012 budget, Appleton said.

The zero increase was accomplished through reductions in staff health insurance premiums, taking from available surplus, and the first-ever decrease in spending on employee benefits, said John Rivera, the school board trustee who chaired the school budget committee.

“We wanted to come in at a zero increase for a second year in a row, and we did it,” Rivera said.

A large increase was reported in spending in special education spending, among many places where costs increased.  State aid rose by more than $578,000, bringing total state aid to more than $1.9 million, a trend officials said they hope will continue.

Not a single resident at the meeting spoke in opposition to the budget.

Ralph Vellon March 30, 2012 at 03:18 AM
As a constant critic and adversary of this board, and in the best interest of our community my position remains to question what this board does. We should all question our government officials, at all times. I was at the budget presentation. Here are some questions. Is there really no TAX increase in this budget for everyone? Um, what was said at the meeting was that if you own a home that is worth $244,562.00 there is a zero tax increase. However, what if your home is worth more is there a TAX increase? What do you think? Is this deceptive? Capital projects like repairing the roofs. Sounds great but wait. Didn’t the Public Library recently spend ~$400,000.00 to renovate the roof in the midst of public controversy based on worth, quality and overages? Another question, is this project more contracts for friends and political allies? Is the board putting this project out to bid (saving TAX dollars) or is it already earmarked for the same company that did the Public Library costing taxpayers more? By the way, everything they approved on this budget can be changed. This is not a fixed budget like the Municipal budget. The school district budget is a flexible budget which means it can be changed. In the past they’ve changed the budget quietly without our knowledge. Once the election is over and they remain in control they do what is best for their political agenda not what is best for the TAXPAYER and certainly not the children. Don’t be mislead. Look closer!
Hotpep March 30, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Mr. Vellon, why did you forget to mention this important info for us to read.... Over the last three school board elections, Ralph Vellon has made assertions against the members of the board of education and last year filed a complaint with the Essex County Board of Elections alleging a host of election law violations by Richard Yannuzzi and one election district board member, all based upon what he heard took place at various polls during the course of the day. The Board of Elections dismissed his complaint. Typical of Vellon, he arrives at the meeting after the hearing was closed and asserts that his right to be heard was violated. The Board of Elections reopend the hearing [which they did not have to do] and allowed Vellon to have his day. The Election Board then sustain their previous action and dismissed the complaint.
Ralph Vellon March 31, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Justice isn't a swift journey. Society, its systems is not prefect. America’s systems are great but not faultless. For example, an American president (Richard M. Nixon) being impeached for breaking the law is reflective of the imperfections in our society. It’s the integrity of the individuals that make the difference. The board’s leadership lacks integrity and the election process has its problems. The complaints I submitted were factual and supported with physical evidence. The Essex County Board of Elections Commissioners is not beyond reproach, as suggested by the impeachment of an American president. Prosecutors also fail to convict known mobsters after repeated indictments. Several mobsters’ names come to mind. Although prosecutors have extensive legal knowledge, substantial financial resources and informants their cases are dismissed. The system and the process are not perfect. I’ll continue to champion the children’s cause and bring forth all related accusations. In spite of the set backs I see progress. Don't confuse the loss of a battle with the end of the war. During WWII American forces lost many battles but they didn't stop fighting. In the end they won the war. So too do I feel that the war to change Belleville’s existing status quo and apathy among voters is not over. We've replaced the status quo with a grassroots movement and desire to reach just outcomes for the benefit of all our children. Join the movement vote 1A www.ralphvellon.com .
Truth April 02, 2012 at 07:42 AM
Fun Fact Mr.Vellon, Nixon was Never Impeached.

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