Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Increase in South Orange-Maplewood State Aid Will Help Alleviate Budget Freeze

SOMSD interim Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra (center left) and Board of Education President Annemarie Maini (center right) February 25, 2019. Credit: Bruno J. Navarro.

The South Orange-Maplewood School District received more than a half million dollars more in state aid for 2019/20 than anticipated, but that increase will go toward alleviating a $2.6 million spending freeze.

A preliminary budget presented by District Business Administrator Paul Roth on Feb. 25 projected state aid at $5.033 million — the same as for 2018/19 (see budget presentation below). However, the aid came in at $5.6 million after NJ Gov. Phil Murphy’s budget address last week, with additional aid for debt service and preschool. Even before the increased state aid was announced, Interim Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Ficarra had stated that there would be no staff cuts as projected enrollment for the 2019/2020 school year approaches 7,200 students.

“Administration will be presenting the updated budget based on the state aid numbers released last week” at a Board of Education Budget Workshop tonight, March 11, BOE President Annemarie told Village Green via email yesterday. “Administration will explain the differences with the projections presented two weeks ago at the February BOE meeting. …  Unfortunately the incremental aid will go to relieve some of the pressure of this year’s spending freeze.”

Per Maini, the South Orange-Maplewood School District received:

  • $5,600,317 in state aid
  • $372,456 in debt service aid ($297,142 anticipated)
  • $2,940,398 in pre school aid

According a public notice sent via email by the Board secretary, “The Board of Education will meet in Closed Session on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 6:30 pm in the Superintendent’s Office to discuss personnel and legal issues, negotiations, for all non-conflicted board members for the purpose of the Superintendent search interviews, and other matters to be announced at a later date. Immediately following the Closed Session, the Board of Education will meet in Public Session at 7:30 pm in the District Meeting Room, 525 Academy Street, Maplewood, NJ for the purpose of conducting a public hearing on the 19-20 budget. No action will be taken.”

The Board of Education will meeting again on Monday, March 18 to vote on the 2019/20 budget.

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