Written by Daniel Offner Friday, 30 May 2014 00:00
Voters in the Farmingdale School District cast their ballots on May 20, to pass a $156.4 million spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year, by a margin of 71 percent.
According to unofficial tallies, 1,516 residents voted “yes” while 626 voted against the 2014-2015 budget.
“When the Farmingdale community went to the polls on May 20, they spoke loud and clear,” Superintendent John Lorentz said. “They said that they understand the intrinsic value of the public school system, and are willing to take action to preserve it. We can’t thank them enough.”
The adopted budget represents a spending increase of $3,112,530—or 2.03 percent—over the 2013-2014 budget.
Based on the Farmingdale School District’s 2014-2015 budget figures, employee benefit costs will increase by $2.7 million, while salaries will rise by $57,924 as a result of a required step increase.
The approved spending plan also includes a tax levy of $119.2 million—or 1.74 percent—for the 2014-2015 school year.
According to Farmingdale Assistant Superintendent of Business Paul Defendini, the goal in forumulating this year’s budget was to maintain the integrity of existing school programs. However, to do this, the district Board of Education needed to include a reduction in teachers and support staff and a slight increase in class sizes.
“We are sensitive to what people are going through in this tough economy,” Defendini said. “It’s why we worked hard to preserve our programs while staying under the cap. We’re happy to see that the community responded in such an overwhelmingly positive way, and we thank them for it.”
In addition to the budget, voters approved two local propositions—to spend $985,000 from its capital reserve fund and to approve the Youth Council’s budget—by nearly 1,000 more “yes” votes each.
“The success of our district is made possible by the community consistently approving the budget,” said Board of Education President Shari Bardash-Eivers. “It allows us to maintain the wonderful education that has come to define Farmingdale schools, and for that we are extremely grateful.”
School board elections were a quiet affair this year, as incumbent John Capobianco would reclaim his seat on the Board of Education with 1597 votes. Because Vice President Steve Wilson decided not to run this year, newcomer Ralph Morales would win Wilson’s seat in an uncontested election with 1,437 votes.