The Special Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:00 pm by Council President Tobey.


Pledge of Allegiance and a Moment of Reflection for those men and women protecting our country and preserving our freedom.



According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Daily Record. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building , 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive Township , New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.




Present: Mrs. Labow, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Mania, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Roman, Mr. Greenbaum and Mr. Tobey


Also Present: John Dorsey, Township Attorney and Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk




President Tobey: Once again I would like to welcome everyone and thank you for taking the time to attend this evening. Before we begin, I would like to provide everyone with a general outline as to how we will be conducting tonight's special meeting. I will open this meeting by explaining the process; I would like to then introduce the Mount Olive Council Subcommittee. We would then have them present their findings and recommendations to this governing body. From that point we will allow Council members to ask questions of the Subcommittee members. Then allow the members of the Mount Olive Board of Education to ask questions or direct comments to the Council and/or Subcommittee. I will then open the floor up to the public for questions or comments. I would respectfully request that comments remain under three minutes. We will proceed to the Council comment portion of the meeting at approximately 9:35 p.m. From there we will move to a formal action at approximately 10:00 p.m. Please take notice that one the vote has been taken, no other comments will be accepted and the meeting will be adjourned, thank you.


Mr. Scott Uhrmann, Council School Budget Subcommittee: Good evening, as you all are aware there is or continues to be a lot of passion and emotion on both sides of the fence regarding this issue with the school budget, its failure at passage or how much should or will be cut. There has been much written and stated recently in the media and elsewhere referencing what we, the Subcommittee, did or didn't do. I assure you we didn't have any secret meetings nor did we threaten anybody. What we agreed upon as a committee was to take this process extremely seriously, which we did. Our primary concern was to accomplish the task for which we were asked to do and to look out for the welfare of two specific groups, the children and the parents, and have as minimal impact upon them as possible. Though many believe they knew exactly what we were going to do, in the end most will hopefully be surprised at our recommendations and views. We asked many questions, many which remained unanswered, which ultimately only served to make our job more difficult but not impossible and in the end, did not prevent us from moving forward. Ultimately we prevailed in achieving what we set out to do, accomplishing our goals and objectives. We completed our purpose with numerous meetings on weekends and evenings to reach a consensus and conclusion amongst the five of us and we finalized this with recommendations which you all have before you. Recommendations which you will note, which purposely and intentionally, do not recommend any cuts to courtesy bussing, athletics, clubs or school programs, nor do we recommend any cuts to the teaching staff. In fact as you can see approximately 1.9 million of the just over two million identified comes from surplus left over, prior year funding, and a request for a one year salary freeze of school employees. A salary freeze identical to which the bus drivers, understanding our fiscal dilemma which faces our Township and State, have already agreed upon, freezing their salaries to assist the community in being proactive in cutting costs to the residents. The remainder comes from what we feel are overages in the funding of the transportation department and maintenance department. Our original goal in these two areas was to ask for budget decreases but the manner in which the process works determines how these reductions must be presented. We can only ask for cuts in which we identify line items which need to be cut, so unfortunately the process dictates we ask for positions being eliminated, versus specifically identifying dollars or items to be removed from a line. Since the single line items amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars and it is not possible to remove items from within, since detail is not identified; we realize that cuts of any kind are not popular but unfortunately the majority of residents voted, once again in April as in the previous 2 years for cuts Mr. Uhrmann (cont'd): to be enacted. It was and is our responsibility to enact what the majority of residents requested. I'm going to go over the process just a little bit. This maybe not just the view of the committee but it is definitely my view and is one of the views and one of the reasons why I feel we are here, the failure of passage of the school budget as presented on April 20 th . If the budget had been passed in its original form, this meeting, this Subcommittee and all that is associated with it would be non-existent. Those of you sitting here and I'm sure the majority of you sitting here support the failed budget, and are against any cuts. While great in numbers you are still the minority because the process is, what happened at the ballot box on April 20 th and the majority asked us to do our job. You had your opportunity in the process, yet the majority of residents, parents and taxpayers overruled you. The question is who represents that majority, who voted no? Staff and employees are represented, teachers are represented, and the unions are represented. Every party has a seat at the table except the residents. The majority who voted no, they have no seat at the table.  They are excluded from the process. The only time they get a voice in the process is April 20 th but as demonstrated now by 3 consecutive years of defeated school budgets…the majority of residents don't agree. The residents/voters are asking for help and once more I ask, who represents these residents, the majority who voted no on April 20 th ? At that point it becomes the responsibility of this Subcommittee. It is our only purpose and the sole reason for its existence. Our only function is to complete the democratic and constitutional process on behalf of this vast majority who voted no. With that responsibility in mind, we gave all other considerations to the children and parents who are also impacted in this process. All of us on the Subcommittee are also parents and parents of children with in the school system. Across America last year, tens of millions of people lost their jobs. Tens of millions more have given up raises, bonuses, and benefits and millions more have lost their homes. Nobody wants to see any of that happen and this occurred last year, when within the school system, everybody received their normal pay raises. Yet across America a lot of people didn't. What we're asking as a group is for a salary freeze. It might not happen and then if it doesn't happen, then the BOE is going to have to make a decision on their own as to what direction they want to take. I notice there are a lot of children in the room here tonight and so I wanted to address this. I call them children; most of them are young adults and the reason that I want to speak to you is what's happening within our State, within our Country is the debt which is basically becoming your debt, it's not our debt. Almost all of the adults in this room have maybe 10 or 15 more years in the workplace. We're never going to pay this down and in this State alone in unfunded pensions, liabilities and debt, we're talking close to a hundred billion dollars. Think of how forbidding and daunting a thought it is and I'm talking to the children. Your children and your grandchildren are not even born or even a thought within your head but they will be born into a virtual life of servitude to pay off the irresponsible excesses of generations long since perished and what is worse this debt continues to grow at levels beyond comprehension. Though all of us adults sitting around us here tonight have contributed to this financial mess, it was just recently announced, the United States government is now paying out 92% of all tax revenues collected towards paying off debt. Ninety two cents of every dollar is paying off debt. Every dollar collected by the U.S. government and that's trillions; it's something like 3.7 trillion dollars. That does not include Social Security, doesn't include Medicare, and doesn't include Medicaid. Just one and a half years ago, that 92% number was only 58%. Think about that. So when everybody tells you it's about you the children, the students, what really it should be about is you, the children, and what is going to happen to you in the future. If you need to question that, since this budget is the topic here tonight, there's plenty in here to ask about salaries and benefits. As we stated before, there are no recommendation of cuts in programs, athletics, or bussing. So for your children, we actually are looking out for your best interest. This knowledge is a lot for you guys to bear but unfortunately your going to bear the brunt of our fiscal excesses for your entire lives unless we start acting responsibly as the adults we are suppose to be, thank you.

Mr. Paul Stefiniw, Council School Budget Subcommittee: That's a tough one to follow Scott. I think Scott really summed up a lot of the issues that the Subcommittee, that the Council, the Board of Education… we are all working on in the Town to try and control. Just a couple quick points, the Subcommittee that was put together has spent many hours looking at the budget that we had available. We had three to four weeks to look at this budget where the Board of Education and the School Administration has a whole year to work on this budget. Some of the issues that concern me, go on…and I know many people I speak with… they try to tell me it's a public entity, its different then a private organization. I agree to that to a certain extent. However, the budget should always reflect the true operation of the organization. The way the Board of Educations are allowed to work throughout the whole State, there's many times where money transfers between line items and accounts, are allowed. What that does, that's really mullets how we can follow the funds and it's very difficult to run an operation that way because if you're running low on one line item and all of a sudden you need to make a transfer of the funds to that line item, that should really send up a red flag to say, what happened here? Mr. Stefiniw (cont'd): How come you overdrew, how come you don't have enough in your recovery costs and with the transfers, those kinds of questions are hidden. The other issue that arises is that when those transfers occur, it's difficult to start backtracking and what's happening and why they are being transferred. So it makes it very difficult to try to zero in on reductions and or just controls. As Scott said earlier, we looked at the items that provided the least amount of impact to the children and to the residents of the Town. We did not want to affect any of the classes that they were receiving or actually any of the assets of the Town. We know there's a large line item for capital expenditure to repair the roof of the High School. We discussed early on about possibly changing that or reducing it. We all came to an agreement on that we really don't want to be messing with the assets of the Town. Those buildings are our assets and if we don't maintain them, we're going to always end up in trouble later on down the road. They're not going to be there for us to use and in the condition that we would expect them to be. Just to give a couple numbers as Scott was mentioning with what's happening in the Country and really quickly what's happening in other Towns in the area. Pulling off some of the numbers off the Board of Education website…. Right now we are expending $13,515.00 per student for the education. $7,504.00 of that are class rooms and instruction costs. Of that $7,500.00, $7,217.00 is direct salaries and benefits. That's a large number, that's a number that continues to grow and becomes out of control. We have to do something with it. It's an item that nobody wants to hear about but it needs to be done. Out of that $13,515.00, $6,011.00 are support Administration, operation maintenance, legal cost for Board of Education per student. As you can see, that's also a number that can be looked at and whittled away slightly more and more as efficiencies are looked at. That's what we try to do here with our recommendations. There are other recommendations that came up during a discussion with the BOE Subcommittee that they hopefully promised to look into that could have further reductions later on in the process. That's pretty much all I have to say, I guess.


President Tobey: Thank you Mr. Stefiniw. Does anyone on Council have any questions or comments? Seeing none, gentleman thank you. At this time I would ask representatives of the Board of Education to please come forward with any questions or comments that they have.




Mark Werner, Mount Olive Board Education President: I want to thank you for the process that you went through. I want to thank the Council and their Subcommittee as far as the process they went through. I do have some questions as far as, on the Resolution that you do have tonight.


President Tobey: Please…


Mr. Werner: Questions and clarification. First of all, the word “surplus” has been used on the $664,000.00. That is really not a surplus. That is extraordinary aid for special education. That's a reimbursement amount as far as; from the State that we invoice the State and the State in turn pays us back. Every special ed child is allowed… the District is required to pay the first $55,000.00 on every special ed case that exists. Anything above that, we have the right to be reimbursed by the State. Now, there has been talk as far as, that we hid this $664,000.00 from the community and from the process. That is completely incorrect. We received notification of the $664,000.00 first on May 10 th . We sent an invoice, for a lack of a better term to the State for cost, for expenses that we incurred over this $55,000.00 per student to the State and in turn that money is basically a payment in the rears for cost that we've already incurred. We've incurred through the last school year, kids that need special hospitalization, special treatments, one on one aids, whatever the case may be. We have incurred that cost already as the year went on, at the beginning of the year. Now, let's just say hypothetically in March we turned around and sent this notification of what we've incurred to the State. The State makes the determination as far as what they will reimburse us for expenses going forward as far as for special ed. So this is a payment of special ed's services and not a surplus. It is basically, and also it is State Aid. It is not an effect on the individual Township levy. It is direct payment from the State for these expenses, so I want to clarify that first of all.


President Tobey: Excuse me, Mr. Werner can I just comment on that?


Mr. Werner: Please…


President Tobey: Respectfully I don't know if I agree with you and I'm not here to debate with you this evening. We've been advised otherwise by our Auditor, who I put the utmost confidence and trust in and I would ask Mr. Piccone, who's here for Mr. Gary Higgins tonight, if you want to comment or provide some feedback on what Mr. Werner just brought up.


Mr. Piccone of Lerch, Vinci & Higgins: Sure, in the District budget that's prepared, there's a schedule in there called the decapitation of fund balance. What it basically is… is an estimate of where the fund balance is going to end up at June 30, 2010. It takes into account any excess revenues above what was originally budgeted and any expenditures that are expected to be lapsed at year end. The District prepares that calculation and we obtained a copy at how they arrived at that. In that calculation, a number slightly above $1.3 million dollars is utilized for extraordinary aid which is the aid we are talking about.


Mr. Werner: Correct.


Mr. Piccone: Originally there was a budget of $275,000.00 as an estimate according to the 9/10 budget. So in that calculation to recapitulate where the fund balance will end up, slightly over $1.3 million was used. Subsequent to that, as mentioned on May 10 th , the estimate by the State is now slightly over $1.9 million. So the only thing we did here was revise the estimate that was done in the budget document to reflect this new estimate that the State has provided on the extraordinary aid, which will ultimately end up in the District's fund balance at June 30, 2010.


President Tobey: Simple question Mr. Piccone. Is that number found or additional surplus, yes or no please?


Mr. Piccone: It's additional access State aid that will flow into surplus at June 30, 2010.


President Tobey: Thank you.


Mr. Werner: This is Dr. Larrie Reynolds.


Dr. Reynolds, Superintendent of Schools: Well… let me just say, with respect to extraordinary aid, Mr. Werner is exactly right. Technically it flows into surplus but it's one of the categories of surplus that can be held over the next year because what typically happens is when a school District has special education kids, during the year as the IEP teams or whoever, courts in some cases, rule the kids have to get this service or that. When those services exceed $55,000.00, essentially the District pays it and at the end of the year we reconcile with the State and they basically reimburse us for the expenses. Now the expenses come…and by the way, you're a State certified Business Administrator?


Mr. Piccone: No, I'm not.


Dr. Reynolds: Okay, well I'm sorry. Well, let me just say, what happens in the State is the money comes at the end of the year and when it comes to us, essentially what happens is we use the money to reimburse the budget for the following year because the kid that's hospitalized right now at $200,000.00… and by the way we don't have a choice as to whether or not we pay this. It is as a federal rule. Kids, for instance, who are blind or kids who have mental retardation or perhaps they are autistic in some way, they are not aware of their surroundings… from three years old until 21 we are responsible for that and so we are spending something in the order of $17 million for special education. Of the 17 million, some number of cases go over the $55,000.00 threshold to the tune of about 1.9 million. So the 1.9 million, we're supposed to write out every year and get. The reason why this was budgeted at a 1.3 million this year was because this number is always a little dicey. The State sometimes, they send it to you… in fact two years ago we got 18 cents on the dollar and so it just depends on how much money they have or whether to actually fully fund it. Basically, we knew the idea of 1.9 million is what we thought we were going to get, but with all the crisis and the economy and so forth, we never really quite knew. Now we had 1.3 million in capital reserve in our fund balance and I was talking to Miss Decker and said “we better not budget any more than we have in cash on hand, otherwise we could find ourselves upside down, $670,000.00, the amount here” and then we don't have any way to pay for it. The problem is this, if the money is removed from this particular category, we'll have to fund it some other way. So $660,000.00 is going to have to come out of some other program to fund the special ed needs that we have. We just can't tell special ed kids, “I'm sorry; we're not going to provide your nurse anymore.” I mean we just don't have that ability. The only way to get out of these expenses is if the students age out of the program, that is they turn 22 or they move away. Or like we did this past year, we devise our own program like the Magellan program and bring them back from these very expensive programs and into our own program. You're right, it's technically a surplus but it is a reimbursement, State Aid for expenditures that we've already experienced. It's directly driven by the kids who have their special ed and handicapped concerns.


Mr. Piccone: All we really did here was, revise the estimate of what the State was sending you and certainly that doesn't preclude the District from in 2009, 10, or 11 of appropriating any additional, extraordinary aid into the budget.


Dr. Reynolds: Well, we don't get to say what it is. The students drive it as their bills mount basically. When we get to $100,000.00… we keep track of all the OT, PT…all of the ABA therapies, all these things that people get and by the way in my opinion this is an area that is completely out of control and needs desperate reform but it's at the State level, Federal level. I mean the State of New Jersey has 17 additional laws that override Federal rules and make special ed more expensive. It's growing at an incredible rate and it's definitely one of our pressures on our District. The problem however is that we can't, this Board, this Committee can't do anything about it. If the money is removed from this account, we will have to shore it up with money from something else and it will have to come from the things that you rather not have it come from, bussing, teachers or something else and because it simply exists. It's not something we can wish away and say that we just have extra money. This money is directly generated by the bills that we have.


President Tobey: Thank you Dr. Reynolds.


Mr. Werner: As far as that line item, like we said, is if that line item is removed, that line item is cut, we're cutting special ed and in turn it leads to my confusion as far as what Dr. Reynolds touched on and as far as the fourth paragraph of your Resolution where you're saying that these cuts do not effect courtesy bussing, sports programs, or special ed, or excuse me, teachers. So if you're saying that we need to cut special ed, you're saying that we can't educate a child with special needs but we can have a football program. I'm confused at that, let alone what you want us to do.


President Tobey: Mr. Werner, based upon my conversation with Gary Higgins today, I'm getting the complete opposite, okay and he found it quite interesting with all due respect how you pinpointed that to the special needs of families and children so obviously we're going to have to agree to disagree on this. I must say I'm going to take the advice of our auditor on this.


Mr. Werner: I respect that, that's fine, I'm just saying so everyone knows, that's what's going to happen. Mr. Higgins can have his opinion as we have ours from our District. We have ours as a day to day experience and a number of years of experience, that's what we will incur.


Mr. Piccone: Can I just say something…


Mr. Werner: Please…


Mr. Piccone: I'm sorry; I didn't mean to interrupt you.


Mr. Werner: No, no, please.


Mr. Piccone: The way the Resolution reads, this is additional revenues that we're saying to increase the fund balance utilized in the budget. The $664,000.00 is not a cut to an expense that the Resolution is worded to increase the amount of fund balance utilized in the budget because additional revenues will flow into that fund balance based on the State aid estimate of your extraordinary aid so the beginning part of this Resolution are additional revenues not expenditure cuts.


Mr. Werner: Right, but it's pointed towards the extraordinary aid, that's what it's based on.


Mr. Piccone: Extraordinary aid, revenue.


Mr. Werner: Right, exactly, exactly, so that's where we're at. Now my next question would be as far as the line item you have for… I'm not even sure what you would call it, as far as these… salary freeze, as far as the $1,185,872.00. As we have stated at our public meetings multiple times, we did twice and I believe also your Subcommittee which we are not able to do, went directly to the rank and file as far as the teachers. We can only deal from a School Board standpoint. We need to deal with the union leadership according to State law, and we have to do that. You had the ability and you did go out and reach out, as it was stated on record that you went out to the rank and file as far as the salary freeze. My understanding… unless that's to the contrary, a salary freeze has been rejected. It's been rejected by us when we reached out to the rank and file, excuse me… when we reached out to the union leadership and I cannot speak for what the rank and file, because I have no idea what that was but from my indication and Mr. Tobey, maybe you can clarify for me, did the rank and file agree to a salary freeze?





Mr. Tobey: Mr. Werner I can tell you, I have been inundated with communication from teachers and a salary freeze was not off the table. Contrary to what the union leadership said, it was not off the table, and I will say this, while teachers were not happy they went on to say to me, they don't want to see people lose their jobs. They don't want to see programs cut; they don't want to see larger class sizes and they said reluctantly or hesitantly, while they may not be happy, it was not off the table.


Mr. Werner: I respect that. I guess my question was a yes or no question…was did they agree to a salary freeze?

Mr. Tobey: I was not negotiating okay. I was not negotiating as one of the e-mails indicated. I was communicating, I was looking for suggestions, and I was looking to kick over every log and every stone in front of me to try to help with this process. To answer your question, “no” because once again, I did not negotiate, I listened to the people is what I did.


Mr. Werner: Okay, thank you. Okay, so then as far as that stated it was not negotiated and it was turned down by us when we went to the union membership. Here it is stating that this is based on a wage freeze. My question is very simply, what's plan “B?” If we cannot get the wage freeze going back to your fourth paragraph of your resolution, stating that it does not affect courtesy bussing, sports programs, and teachers. If we cannot get a wage freeze from our teachers, what are we supposed to do?


Mr. Tobey: Mr. Werner, there was an article in the paper and if it's wrong, Dr. Reynolds you can correct me, but you're in the paper quoted as saying that you yourself support a pay freeze such as the bus drivers did and if I remember correctly…


Mr. Werner: That's correct, I do.


Mr. Tobey: And if I remember correctly, Mr. Spangler also commented and said if he's directed by the Board to go back to the union and open this up, he would do that and those statements were incorporated into our meetings and our discussions.


Dr. Reynolds: Well, let me just say for the record, I think it is a good idea and I hope that… I do wish, and I do encourage our teachers, faculty, staff, our Administrators to take a wage freeze but it's out of my power if they decide not to. I think they did negotiate with the Board and I wasn't around when they did.


President Tobey: I understand that.


Dr. Reynolds: They negotiated in good faith and if they decide not to, I'm certainly not going to break their contract. I believe in the rule of law and so the bottom line is I think… by the way, I think the Board agrees. I think we would all like to see this wage freeze. I think Mr. Werner raises a good question. I think it just goes to this question, if we cannot get a wage freeze and basically we only have another hour to figure this out… then ultimately there will have to be something else to replace the cut and I guess that's the issue.


Mr. Walsh: Being an elected Councilman, I go door to door to door to door all the time and you guys know that. I don't believe…. I'm not saying this is a bad thing but a lot of folks involved here don't have the opportunity to go door to door to talk to the people like I do and some of the other folks up here. Believe me, the people in Town, the voters, when they voted this budget down… it's my humble opinion but I do feel this is a very educated opinion based on talking to hundreds and hundreds of people. When they were voting this budget down, they weren't voting to cut football to cut bussing to cut lacrosse etc. They were voting for wage freezes and or cuts to jobs and that's what we're going to have to look at. It's got to be one or the other. Now this is what I have been elected, you guys have been elected to do. Is to do what the people want. This is what they want and I feel very strongly that a pay freeze should be taken. I think we always hear it's all about the kids; well we're going to have to lose bodies if we don't get a pay freeze and that's just where we are.


Mr. Werner: So Mr. Walsh, then can I say from your comment just there that you disagree with the fourth part of the Resolution, that if we don't get a wage freeze teachers will be affected because it results…


Mr. Walsh: It will be up to you what to cut at that point but it's… if I'm not mistaken, that's the process. It's going to have to be either teachers or administrative staff; certainly everybody feels we're a little heavy there. When I say “we,” I mean the whole State but somewhere in administration and teachers, yeah.


President Tobey: Mr. Werner, excuse me… you're certainly aware of whatever we recommend, the ball is in your court, how you determine to apply those cuts based upon what gets adopted this evening.


Mr. Werner: Mr. Tobey, I totally agree with you but as I said in our Subcommittee, from our review of the budget and from the last year and a half of cutting close to over $4 million from our budget, we do not see where the cuts that you are prescribing tonight can be made. So from that standpoint, whatever the Board, whatever the Council comes up with, this Board is going to follow those deductions to a “T.” That's why I'm asking the question. I'm not asking the question as far as for the 1.4 or the 1.1. I'm asking for, if we don't get the wage freeze, what is plan “B” from a standpoint of…your saying that you're not effecting courtesy bussing, you're not effecting sports programs, you're not affecting teachers and all I'm asking for… and I don't want to go on, because there are other Board members and there's other public here but if we don't get that, I don't know if that Resolution is null and void, if that portion is or what are we supposed to do because what I'm hearing is you don't want to affect programs, you don't want to affect teachers and you don't want to affect courtesy bussing but you want us to get a wage freeze and if we can't… and by the way for the record from Dr. Reynolds standpoint, from my own standpoint, I agree 100% with the wage freeze. I agree with the 1.5% benefit payment. I think that should be across the board, it's long overdue so from that standpoint I totally agree with you. I think it should happen. We have a contract. I'm asking how, if they do not… because they have the option, all I'm asking for and I don't need an answer now, I'm asking for, very honestly what are we supposed to do? I'm just asking for plan “B” and that's it.


Mr. Walsh: This may be a question for Mr. Dorsey. You bring up a good point. In paragraph four, should we cross out the last, one, two, three, four, five, and six… six words?


Mrs. Labow: Just remove it.


Mr. Walsh: That's a question for Mr. Dorsey and Mr. Tobey. Should we be crossing those last six words out of paragraph four?


Mr. Dorsey: The last six words?


Mrs. Labow: I agree Mr. Tobey, I agree with Pat. We have to remove that section there because you're kind of tying their hands, limiting them to what you want them to …


Mr. Tobey: Excuse me, excuse me, I respectfully disagree with that because once again at the end of the day. Okay… if the wage freeze is not obtained, the decisions that the board makes are those decisions, they are not our decisions. We have our recommendations but they are not our decisions. Please don't co-mingle the two topics.


Mr. Mania: Just so I get something straight in my mind, did the union poll the teachers for the wage freeze? I'm not certain that I heard they did or didn't.


Mr. Walsh: I don't believe so.


Mr. Werner: They did, yes.


Mr. Mania: They did?


Mr. Werner: I wasn't there but I understand that they did.


Mr. Mania: Okay.


Mr. Walsh: So you're saying every member of the Teachers Union had a chance to vote, yes or no?


Mr. Werner: Mr. Spangler is here tonight. He would be better; I really… we really can't speak for you.


Mr. Spangler: Thank you, Council members… on April 26 th we took a straw poll to decide if a formal vote would be necessary to decide on whether to pursue a wage freeze or other wage concessions. At faculty meetings that afternoon we polled the membership. We polled 472 of our members. Of that, 458 declined a wage freeze. We did not pursue it any further.


Mr. Roman: Mr. Spangler, could you explain to me how you polled the membership?


Mr. Spangler: Yes, each building had a prepared statement that was prepared actually by the executive committee of EMO. We read it, stated what the dangers or perils of accepting the wage freeze were. What the possible advantages might be and then we gave them our recommendation but left it to them and some were a hand vote. Some requested a closed ballot.


Mr. Roman: Off hand, do you know… could you reiterate that statement that you read to them?


Mr. Spangler: I'm sure it would have appeared in the paper several times. Basically it said that we have already made concessions in the area of insurance which saved the board some $2.9 million. By opening up to possible wage freezes we would also open ourselves up to the 1.5% payback which would not become due to us until next year so next year if we accepted a wage freeze it would actually be a cut in pay of 1.5%. We believed that we had made very generous and thorough concessions to an inferior health carrier. Some of my members are seeing losses of a few thousand dollars that they would have been able to take under our old plan. We thought that, that was a very generous savings. We took the change in plans without negotiation. We did not pursue negotiation because we thought it was best for the situation and so at that point we said we would recommend not pursuing the pay freeze.


Mr. Roman: Now, when you polled each individual teacher, was that a one on one conversation… were you able to, aware personally how each individual voted on your question?


Mr. Spangler: Yes.


Mr. Roman: That 1.5 % pay cut, could you explain to me how much that would affect the average teacher?


Mr. Spangler: That's approximately $900.00 a year.


Mr. Roman: $900.00 for…


Mr. Spangler: On the median salary it would be approximately $900.00.


President Tobey: Mr. Werner, I would like to answer your question. With Mr. Dorsey's approval based upon the results of tonight's Resolution, you're asking where you're going to cut. With his approval and I'd like to speak on behalf of the Subcommittee, we would like to make ourselves available to meet with you, to meet with the Board, to meet with your Subcommittee, to help identify where we believe the government can become smaller; the Board of Ed and save the taxpayers' money so I'm going to put that on the table right now.


Mr. Werner: I welcome that but I still would like to go back to, from a Plan “B” standpoint, does that mean you're willing to take away paragraph four, knowing…acknowledging that if this goes through, we will have to affect courtesy bussing, teachers or sports programs if something like this happens.

President Tobey: We're going to leave that in, Mr. Werner.


Mr. Werner: Excuse me?


President Tobey: We are going to leave that in, Mr. Werner.


Mr. Werner: Leave that in?


President Tobey: We are leaving that in.


Mr. Werner: So what you want to do, instead of stating it out in public of what is actually going to be done, you want to do it in a Subcommittee, behind closed doors, thank you. Any other Board members if they would like to comment. Thank you very much.


Mr. Schiess: Good evening. Who's the Auditor, what was your name sir?


Mr. Piccone: Ralph Piccone.


Mr. Schiess, School Board Member: What I wanted to do is today… I wasn't quite sure what extraordinary aid was either but I went online and there are 14 pages here. Again, it's not surplus alright, it's extraordinary aid and as your special education, extraordinary aid in 2009, 2010 frequently asked questions. The list goes through here 14 pages. The accounting for this aid, where does that go? Do you know? Can you tell me where that goes?


Mr. Piccone: Sure, it's just general fund, State Aid.


Mr. Schiess: You don't know the revenue source code or anything like that?


Mr. Piccone: Not off the top of my head. It's in what they call “fund 10” which is a general fund, State aid.


Mr. Schiess: Again, like I said, there are 14 pages that define what this aid is and I can give you the web-site to get it. Mr. Dorsey, I will give you a copy. But 3.31 how are extraordinary aid awards accounted for in District records. Specifics of the accounting treatment of the extraordinary aid awards will be given in the award notification letter. You can expect a payment to be made to your LEA through the automated clearing house. Reimbursements, reimbursements… funds should be recorded as revenue on a receivable in the District's detailed general ledger. So there's a lot to be said when your reporting revenues in the general ledger but it is, in fact, a reimbursement for money that was already laid out by the community.


Mr. Piccone: It's already in the calculation that the Board itself did so we didn't add this revenue into the calculation as to where their fund balance was going to end up. The only thing we did was adjust a number to the revised estimate that came out after the budget was voted on so this isn't anything additional that the Board already didn't have in their calculation. All we did was revise the number.


Mr. Schiess: The point that I'm trying to make is that, Governor Christie and the State didn't even reduce this number. What they did in the past, they have reduced the number. We put in $1.3 million as a best guess when actually we spent $1.9 million and there's no reason for us to believe that our special education costs are going to be reduced any less. What I'm asking the board to do is… first of all I want to thank the committee. I would have really liked to work with Mr. Roman in regard to transportation issues. His expertise, he's been at the Board of Education meetings, the matrix that he's looking to set up, a lot of the things that Mr. Roman wants to do are excellent ideas and I think they'll bring about significant efficiencies. What I'm asking the Council to do is to remove this as a surplus revenue item and we go with the $1.3 million and let us deal with that. Thank you very much.


Mr. Roman: Jim, if I may ask a question. In the budget that you guys introduced, you had that revenue item as 1.3, correct?


Mr. Schiess: That's correct.


Mr. Roman: What does it stand at now?


Mr. Schiess: I don't know.


Mr. Roman: It would be 1.9. So all we did is adjust that revenue item up to reflect that. I think… everybody seems to think that we're cutting $664,000.00 out of that. If we did not add this change, you guys would see a revenue item increased above what you guys had indicated in there.


Mr. Schiess: Mr. Roman, I understand what you're saying but I think the points that being missed here is that we budgeted $1.3 million after having spent $1.9 million because just like the municipality, we cannot budget things we're not sure of. You can't budget for projected revenue, things that you don't have in hand. We can't budget either. We budgeted a conservative number; now if it came up to be less than $1.3 million, we'd be short that. We actually spent 1.9 million dollars for special education. We put in the budget 1.3 million dollars and low and behold, a surprise to us we get back 1.9 million dollars which we actually spent. We spent $1.9 million. What I'm asking again, is…I'll give this to Mr. Dorsey. Oh, you don't want to read it John, Mr. Dorsey, Senator Dorsey?


Mr. Dorsey: I'm reading it here.


Mr. Schiess: Okay, but what I'm asking is to take out the $664,000.00. It's not surplus. Go with the $1.3 million. If you were strictly doing the wage freeze it would be $1.1 million. Let us work on the efficiencies and get the job done. Again, this is not surplus and…. It's just not surplus. Can I hand this over to you, someone that may want to look at it?


President Tobey: Please, Mrs. Labow, members of Council, I would just like to remind everyone that, that number was identified by our auditor as surplus. Are there any other Board members that wish to speak?


Mr. Anthony Giordano, Board of Education member: I would just like to remind the Subcommittee and all the people here that auditor was used last year also. He recommended that our budget was pretty lean and recommended a $500,000.00 cut so I'm a little shocked at Mr. Higgins on that note. I also would like to talk a little bit about what Mr. Spangler did. I am a member of NJEA. I'm very proud of that. I'm a member of my local union, Wayne Education Association. I think what's happening here, without the State… I think a lot of Mr. Giordano (cont'd): unions would be more inclined to take a pay freeze or a 1.5 contribution to benefits. My union and I argued with my union leadership about this; wouldn't open it up to the general membership and I argued with them, I'm pretty friendly with them and they said, “Anthony, if you don't like it, you don't have to vote for us.” What they did do however is they went to the State and said, what are the ramifications if we do open our contract up and take the 1.5? Is the State then, when our contract comes up the following year, is that going to retro back and the States going to tell us, you have to 3%. The State couldn't give them a clear answer on that so there's a lot of mis…confusion, a lot of things going on here so with that being said; I understand what Mr. Spangler did. It was a straw poll. The membership said “no.” What happens if he goes back, we talked to him. One point one is on the table. Mr. Spangler, we would like you to go back up to your membership… he does another vote and they vote it down again, and then what do we do? I would just like to keep that in mind. I know it's tough; I'd like to thank everybody. I love the time we spent. You guys came up with some great ideas that we hope to implement and look and I would just like to say that but again, Mr. Higgins did recommend last year $550,000.00 cut from the budget. On a budget that he said was lean. Thank you very much.


President Tobey: Thank you. Are there any other Board members that wish to speak? Okay…yes, please.


Liz Ouimet, School Board Member: I guess the question I have is, just to clarify that the Council did not have to make any cuts. Is that correct? Just so the general public knows that when it went before you it was your decision to make this number as a cut but you could also have said no cuts.


President Tobey: That is correct.


Mrs. Ouimet: Okay, I just want to make that… um, with this cut I guess I would have to defer it back to Dr. Reynolds. How much of a tax increase or a decrease I should say with this amount that they're giving us. How does that affect the taxpayer?


Dr. Reynolds: Let me give ball park estimates. If it is $2 million, I think people in Town will save about $15.00 a month, ball park, $170.00 a year…something along that order.


Mr. Stefiniw: Excuse me, excuse me…I might catch you a little bit on, off the cuff here but I had some numbers run today real quick. I'd be happy if you took this if you want. If you look at item number two and number three, item number two was the proposed tax increases to the average homeowner within the municipality concerning the budget as it stands right now. The general levy as well as the debt servicing, item number three would be the number that we would achieve on an average home with the $2.05 million cut so I think if you look at the two numbers, there's a $218.00 per year decrease in the taxes per average household.


Dr. Reynolds: Well, our calculations, and I believe …


Mr. Stefiniw: I know there might be some difference with the actual tax rate because there were some changes I understand.


Dr. Reynolds: Yeah, changes in the tax rate… we used the actual up to date tax rate changes and we were proposing roughly $2.2 million increase. That would have driven on the average house an increase of $202.00 a year. So if you take away $2 million so the increase is only $200,000.00, essentially that's a little less than one tenth…so one tenth of $200.00 would be about $20.00 that a person would pay or about $170.00 to $180.00 on a monthly basis about $15.00 to $20.00 a month on average.


Mr. Stefiniw: I think if you read the whole e-mail, you'll see that our financial officer had indicated that because there was some differences in the way the fiscal year for the BOE corresponds with the tax year for the Town, there was that difference that becomes I think from the $202.00 to $267.00 that she projected the actual increase would be for each household.


Dr. Reynolds: The number that we published and put before the voters was checked and verified by the Executive County Superintendent so I think it's a firm number and it's based on… it is a confusing year this year because the tax roll back and the tax rate went up and so forth. It is a difficult decision but I think…


Mr. Stefiniw: So we could be looking at upwards of a $200.00 reduction at this point if we look at our… if the numbers that the Town finance officer...


Dr. Reynolds: We can save between $15.00 to $20.00 a month I think is about the right number.


President Tobey: Dr. Reynolds, I just wanted to confirm. You just stated that the tax increase would be approximately $15.00 a month, correct?


Dr. Reynolds: The original tax increase that we were asking for in the budget that was defeated would have raised on the average home about $202.00 a year, which on average, divide that by 12 is about $18.00 a month.


President Tobey: But even then the tax payers spoke and rejected the budget. I just want to comment if I may because my fellow Council members know how I feel on this topic. Part of the problem in the State of New Jersey, as far as I'm concerned and I state this respectfully is how we down play the minimal amount of what it costs people on a monthly basis. When you take that figure and you compound that month after month, year after year, we sit here and we stand around with the State of New Jersey and we wonder why we're the highest tax State in the nation with all due respect.


Dr. Reynolds: Just for the record, I pay taxes myself and I completely agree and I come from a state, in Texas where we had no income tax and taxes there were much cheaper and frankly I don't understand why things cost so much here. On the other hand, wages here are a lot higher but to be sure… I take no quarrel whatsoever in trying to reduce taxes. I think taxes should be a lot lower. The problem however is this, and this is something that you have to weigh and it's the same balance that I have every day. We don't get… normally when businesses you know… the economy goes down or whatever, they have fewer customers, they have fewer products, and the industry slows down. We don't get that. We have the same 5,000 kids this year and next year, we're going to have the year after… and as a matter of fact we're going to have the same level of an increase in terms of expectations. So whatever is going to happen here tonight, I wish you would come to the next board meeting because as we begin cutting the things that we need to cut; and by the way, I hope we can get a salary freeze but I … assuming that we can't get one there will be things cut and the very people who voted no against the budget will then say, I can't pay to ride a bus, I can't have class sizes of thirty kids. You've seen it yourself. You've had this situation with your senior citizens. The problem is this, there's a fundamental flaw in the way New Jersey is operated and it has to do with the way people are taxed but the problem is… as I'm speaking, let me just say, full disclosure here. I'm speaking as a Republican. The problem is I believe in limited government but among the things we limit must not be our public schools. It can't be our military, anyway there are some things we'd limit but you can't limit an education of a kid. I understand it's very costly. I could tell you, I know all of you get that. I completely, I'm absolutely confident that no one here wants to deny boys and girls an education and I know the difficulty that all of us have. I have it myself. How do we get this done? In fact, we were headed towards the place that you want to go which is a zero increase budget. Then we got the rug pulled out from under us with the State paying its bills. Frankly, I don't know what they're doing with that money. Who knows, the problem is that the burden got shifted to the local. I understand the difficulty that you're under. I just think that we should all be cognizant. That what's done here tonight will have a far reaching impact and it's not going to be a small little thing. If assuming we don't get a wage freeze, because that would be huge. But if we don't do that, it will mean some boy or girl is not going to have a class or there's going to be more teachers that are looking for work or there's going to be higher class sizes or people are not going to get the yellow bus to come by their house anymore. It's going to be something like that. I hope that it's none of that and if there was some other way to do it, trust me; we would do it because I believe in the economy. We actually generated a surplus this year of over $2 million. We're working every single day to derive efficiency in our system. I don't mean to lecture you guys. You have a very weighty decision. I just ask you to very carefully consider what you do.


President Tobey: Thank you very much Dr. Reynolds. Mr. Stefiniw…


Mr. Stefiniw: Mr. Tobey, I'm sorry to interrupt but I have a question I guess for Dr. Reynolds and maybe Mark Werner, the BOE President, concerning some of the items that we discussed on the cuts. I'm sorry to interrupt. Just quickly, there had come up, an item that we discussed in our committee meeting. I was just wondering how you guys would handle this. There had been discussions and it has been verified with our Police Chief that there was discussions, come September they were going to pull the resource officers from both the Middle School and the High School and put them back into the general operation of the police department. What's anticipated to happen with that $80,000.00 in those two line items?


Mr. Werner: We still have not been notified of that.


Mr. Stefiniw: My understanding is, I don't know if you haven't received it yet or not but there's been formal comments from the Police Chief that, that's going to occur so even, let's anticipate hypothetically if that happens, what happens to that $80,000.00 in those two line items?



Mr. Werner: It all depends on what happens here tonight. I mean… again, if it's only an $80,000.00 cut versus a $2,000,000.00 cut… I wish I could answer. I'm not trying to be evasive Paul but I can't tell you that I'm going to do this and I'm going to try and fund another teacher with that because I don't know according to what we're saying here, we can't cut teachers. If we get a wage freeze, we won't have to use that money. Maybe we could use the money for project “A” or project “B.” I'm sorry; I don't have definitive answer for you.


Mr. Stefiniw: Okay.


President Tobey: Thank you.


Mrs. Labow: Mr. Tobey…


President Tobey: Mrs. Labow?


Mrs. Labow: Mr. Werner, whereas, section number four, I think there's a misunderstanding. The Resolution does not direct you that you cannot do that. I think what Mr. Tobey, and correct me if I'm wrong Phil, what he's saying is that the Subcommittee, their cuts do not, do not cut teachers, do not cut bussing. They're not saying that you can't do that.


Mr. Werner: Oh, I understand that.


Mrs. Labow: Okay.


Mr. Werner: What my point is with that Resolution is someone has to take ownership. These cuts, if these cuts are not happening the way it is, the ownership is, the Council is taking ownership that there has to be cuts in courtesy bussing, teachers, sports programs.


Mrs. Labow: So what you're saying is this, whereas, paragraph four is disingenuous in terms of somebody's going to be responsible and these cuts will ultimately result in that.


Mr. Werner: Right, exactly and from our standpoint…


Mrs. Labow: I just wanted to clarify it.

Mr. Werner: From our standpoint, all I'm saying Mrs. Labow is from the point of, if we can't get a wage freeze, the direct correlation of not being able to get the wage freeze and we have to cut 1.1 or whatever that number is, is going to be relating to what the Council has asked us to do and what that is going to be in relation to is the potential of keeping it out of the classroom third and addressing other issues such as sports, extracurricular, courtesy bussing and so forth and that's what we're saying. We don't want, like Dr. Reynolds said and all the Board members have said, we don't want to do that but we might not have an option not to do that and that's our…


Mrs. Labow: My big question I have is when does the current contract expire? When do you start negotiating again?


Mr. Werner: I believe we start negotiating now and I believe it's up next year.


Mrs. Labow: So my question is while I would love to see the teachers take a pay freeze, although I think I would rather prefer a cut because what I'm concerned about is when you start your negotiations, if they should get an increase next time, is it going to start out at what their increase is now and then you're going to have to make up that difference and is that a temporary fix?

Mr. Werner: That would be very difficult. All I can say is what's on the table right now from Governor Christie as far as the 2.5 cap, I don't see realistically from a school District standpoint, now we're talking about theory here as far as how we could operate if we say, let's say it as a makeup as far as the 4 or 3.5 or whatever percent increase when the cap is a 2.5.


Mrs. Labow: Because I know with the Township last year we did not give raises at all and this year's budget, there was a lot of talk about, they thought we had such a huge increase but what we had to do was there was six months out of the year that we had to make up for so it looked like we had a huge increase but really it was just paying for the last six months before so that's what I'm concerned about, how's it going to impact. My

Mrs. Labow (cont'd): question would be, instead of asking the teachers for a pay freeze, perhaps a secondary question would be, would you take a pay cut of seventy five cents per hour or something like that.


Mr. Werner: Anything like that on the table that would allow us to get… I can't answer that. I don't know, I agree with …


Mrs. Labow: Well I'm just saying if that's an option because then the next year, the contract, the raises already don't start out in the hole is what I'm just coming up to.


Mr. Werner: Anything is on the table as far as I would be concerned.


Mrs. Labow: Thank you.


Mr. Werner: Thank you.


President Tobey: Mr. Werner, once again based upon the results of this evening and a pay freeze or no pay freeze with the approval of Mr. Dorsey, the Subcommittee will be available to sit again if you'd like to invite us.


Mr. Werner: I'd like to invite all 800 people here at the same time, so we could go over that at the same time, so we have all that. I welcome it if these people would be more than happy to show up at the same time then we could do it out in the open and we could actually honestly say what's being cut, who's making the determination of making that cut and where is it coming from. I have no problem with that at all.


Mr. Walsh: Mr. Tobey, just one thing if I may.


President Tobey: Mr. Walsh?


Mr. Walsh: Once again, speaking to the public, we haven't thanked you, thank you for your volunteerism for your volunteers. I didn't get a chance to say that before but you and the whole Board. Speaking to the public, there's no question in my mind that the cuts need to come from… and they're in the public's mind what they voted for was number one, pay freeze, number two, cuts of bodies, and number three, the other programs so the public has asked me and you to start with pay freezes if the teachers and the administrators especially, are willing to be reasonable, we can stick to just a pay freeze. The public has spoken loud and clear. Then number two would be bodies, period. Whether it's here or not, doesn't matter.


Mr. Werner: Mr. Walsh, if I may ask a question?


Mr. Walsh: Sure.


Mr. Werner: Your survey, do you have those results?


Mr. Walsh: Of course not. I go door to door to door to door to door, face to face, meeting with the public.


Public: Inaudible


Mr. Walsh: What are you talking about?


President Tobey: Ladies and gentleman… please, please.


Mr. Walsh: I made my statement.


Mr. Werner: All I'm asking for, Mr. Walsh, and please folks, all I'm asking for is the same question that Mr. Roman asked Mr. Spangler as far as…


Mr. Walsh: We had a survey and it was the Election Day.


Mr. Werner: What's that?


Mr. Walsh: We had a survey, it was Election Day. They voted down the budget.

Mr. Werner: Okay so my question would be from that, if I may…you believe it is strictly, now with the Council budget as we spoke when you were running, you said you would put a Resolution forward as far as to put the Council budget out there for the public to vote on.


Mr. Walsh: That is a lie, and you asked me, would I consider it and I said, I might consider it.


President Tobey: Mr. Walsh, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Walsh…

Mr. Walsh: He's getting way off the subject here.

President Tobey: Excuse me, excuse me…

Mr. Werner: No, if I may ask…


President Tobey: No, No… Mr. Walsh, excuse me. Mr. Walsh, Mr. Werner, excuse me, I believe the Council already made its point. Hopefully there will be a negotiation on a pay freeze; it's time to move on, thank you very much. Mr. Robinson?


Mr. Walsh: Stop politicizing.


Mr. Werner: I don't even know how to politicize. I'm not a political person. I'm sorry Mr. Walsh, to be honest with you.


President Tobey: Gentlemen, please…

Mr. Robinson, School Board Member: I would like to address what you just said. You know by law you're not allowed to have a vote on the Council budget or the State budget or anything else. The reason is because you couldn't function if the budget was voted down so we have the same kind of problem. We have trouble functioning when the budget is voted down and I absolutely agree with what Mr. Walsh said. I'm sure that it was a universal problem among the people but I think people have to get a better understanding of why these things happen. As Mr. Stefiniw said, our budget is 13.5 but when the State does the budget they check the per pupil numbers and they do it without transportation which equalizes all Districts in the State. Ours was like $12,630.00 per pupil without transportation. Some of the Districts in the State, public school Districts are over $24,000.00 per student in the District. Also, most of these are out of Districts and they get from 81 to 87% of their budget from the State. Mount Olive gets 17% so the disparity of why the taxes are so high in Mount Olive is because we don't get our fair share from Trenton. I think you all know that and you all can agree to that but the point is we also do not get out fair share when the budget goes down and you keep taking money from us. Four million dollars in the last five years, or seven years since 2003. To address something that Mr. Tobey said about the taxpayers who… that's a cumulative effect on what happens to them when their budget goes up. Well it's also a cumulative effect to us when the budget goes down. We never ever get that money back. You as a Town Council can go forward and say, well if we really need money you can raise taxes and you can do it. We can't do that. The very good question is with the $660,000.00, if we exceed the 1.3 which we probably will since we had 1.9 last year and I don't think it's going to go down, that money has been stated, has got to come out of the budget so every time we lose, that money goes down the toilet, it's done. We never get it back and we can't get it back because the State had made it impossible for us to get it back so what we have now is the haves and the have nots and this is something that the courts addressed a long time ago, that money was given to the Abbott Districts to address the have nots but it has flipped flopped now. They have up to $24,000.00. Most of your Abbott Districts are anywhere from $15,000.00 to $19,000.00 per pupil. If we had that extra funding we would not be having this discussion because we could take $2 million. Secondly, I would think that the Governor of New Jersey has recognized the contract negotiations are not in favor of boards or not even equitable for boards of education and he himself has said that something has to be done about it so the fact that people are upset about what has happened with the teachers, the teachers negotiated in good faith. They had better supporters in Trenton then school boards. School boards have no money to give to politicians so we are not represented the same way that unions get represented. We all have these difficulties and to try and blame it on us for, or on our teachers or on our children and you said before that everybody had a seat at the table, well our 5,000 children didn't have a seat at the table. The fault is no more ours or our District then it is your fault for not getting new ratables to this District, thank you. You were not able to get ratables into BASF because of the economy. We have the exact same problems. We can't do everything because of the economy.


President Tobey: Mr. Robinson, you had just stated that… no one here is targeting the teachers or the students so let me just state that for the record.


Mr. Robinson: But you are. You have already stated that if we don't pass it…


President Tobey: Mr. Robinson I'm speaking, please and with regards to ratables we can certainly go back and forth all evening and I'm not going to do that, okay thank you very much. Does anyone else from the Board wish to be heard? Any other Board members? At this time I'm going to open the floor to the public. Please state your name and address for the record.




Renee Gedelha, Warren Street: Speaks to the Council on their decision on the budget and talks about Morris Chase and the additional children that will come out of that development that will need to be in the school system. She feels that a further budget cut is not good and asks the Council to consider no further budget cuts.


Larry McEntee, Aldersgate Circle: Gives the Council stats on school District rankings in different areas across Morris County. He feels that a Board of Ed needs to be elected that can actually negotiate a contract.


Rick Fioro, Camelot Drive: Shares a letter that he wrote to Governor Christie. He also said that real problem is the NJEA.


Denise Mars, Triumph Court: Feels that the proposed $2 million cuts are unprecedented. Feels there is no comparison between the possible $15.00 a month in savings and the increase of the out of pocket expenses that the families will have to pay to maintain current services.


Jennifer Andazo, Mine Hill Road: Feels that the teachers are working hard and asks the Council to go to the elementary schools, sit in the class room for the day and see what it takes to educate a child.


Janet Polzois, Kevin Drive: She asks the Council to consider no further budget cuts.


Karen Clint, Sunset Drive: Agrees that the public is not informed about the budget. She asks Mr. Stefiniw about his decision to cut the budget.


Paul Stifiniw: Said he is against the budget and they tried to look at the items that had the least overall impact to the schools.


Emma Duggan, Oxford Road, Senior at Mount Olive High School: Asks the Council about their role in the school budget. She asks the Council to consider no further cuts.


President Tobey: Explains the role of the Council in regard to the school budget.


Mr. Greenbaum: Also explains the role of the Council in regard to the school budget.


Paul Bouscaren, Outlook Avenue: Feels that an education does not cost anywhere near what people pay for public education in the State of New Jersey. He applauds the Council for their efforts.


Mr. Walsh: He thanks Mr. Bouscaren for being an educated voter and tells other audience members they should be ashamed of themselves.


Nelson Russell, Budd Lake: Said that he cannot afford municipal taxes or school taxes to go up.


Sandra Wozniak, Teacher,C151: Hates to see the activities dismantled and put on the backs of the teachers. She feels that as far as protecting assets in the Town, the teachers are the greatest assets.


Victor Enzo, Connelly Avenue, Junior at MOHS: Asks the Council to consider no further budget cuts.


Jim Staszak, Chatham Road: Asks what Mr. Higgins recommendation on the budget was.


President Tobey: Explains it was in the Resolution that was presented and specifically the revenue line item that's been identified.


Allison Beattie, Flanders: She said that music mean a lot to her and the other students and asks the Council to think about the students when making the decisions on the budget.


Female Resident, Stedwick Drive: She urges the Council to approve the budget with no further reductions.


Andrew Johnson, Flanders: Feels the public needs to be realistic with what's going on in the economy and the world around them. He says that he is supportive of decreasing the budget. He has received no pay raise in the last year.


Mr. Roman: Asks going forward, if the speakers who come up to speak and if they are adults to answer one question, if they have received a pay raise in this past year. He explains that he himself has received a pay cut.


Tim McEvoy, Marston Road: Feels that his success in his first year of college is based on the teaching staff and the teaching District that is run in Mount Olive.


Dan Fuller, Karen Place: Tells the Council that it's up to them if activities get cut.

Victoria Downy, Flanders, drum major at MOHS: Discusses the importance of music in the community.


James Scimecca, Crestwood Circle, President MOHS band: Discusses the importance of music and the band when going on to college.


Mr. Walsh: Asks the two students who just spoke how they heard about the meeting tonight.


James Scimecca, Crestwood Circle, President MOHS band: Responds, “I read the newspapers, thank you.”


Lisa Kleges, Mount Olive: Speaks about the benefits of a musical education.


Female Resident, Connelly Avenue: She talks about the public school system and asks the Council if they received a pay cut and has it been reduced as Council members.


Mr. Greenbaum: Answered, no they do not have a pay cut but it had been reduced over the last ten years with no raise and it does not cover the expenses of what they pay to do the job.


Linda Bouscaren, Outlook Avenue: Does not understand why the teachers can't pay $900.00 in towards medical benefits.


Vicky Lacount, MOHS Student: Speaks about the importance of music in schools.


Dominic Loiacanno, Winchester Avenue: Addresses the Council saying that they have done a great job representing the taxpayers and they have done a great job. Thanks the teachers in Mount Olive for the great job they do but feels that it is time that they teach the kids about fiscal responsibility.


Tammy Grossberndt, Ramar Street: Said that the message they are sending the kids that contracts are made to be broken. She feels the Council is passing the buck and making the Board of Education cuts sports and programs.


David Sulley, Cloverhill Drive: Has taught in Mount Olive for 34 years. He understands that something needs to be done but fears for the programs that will be cut. He hopes the Council will seriously consider where they will make cuts.


Trish, Winding Hill Drive: She is from Canada and finds that in the Canada the children are the priority and in the US it is very political and fears what will happen to the future of Mount Olive children.


Alex Kramer, David Place: He hopes the Council does not cut any further, but feels they should be cutting elsewhere and feels that before they ask the teachers for a pay freeze, maybe the Superintendent and the Administrator should take a pay freeze as well.


Todd Novaky, 32 nd Street: Feels that what the Council is asking for is to reduce the value and the content of Mount Olive schools and to lower the standing in the County. Asks the Council to go back to their Resolution and only ask for things that can be reasonably expected to be implemented.


Kathleen McNeil, Drakestown Road: She moved to Mount Olive because of the school District. She doesn't want to see it gutted.


Daniel Amianda, Camp Pulaski Road, School Board Member: Asks the Council not to cut the budget and punish innocent students.


Rose Rehm, Mount Olive Road: Applauds Dr. Reynolds for putting together a frugal budget. Asks Council to reconsider the dollar amount they are asking to be cut. She lets Mr. Walsh know that she is an educated voter in town and he never came knocking on her door and she did support the budget. She asks President Tobey to reconsider the dollar amount.


Jan Lynne Siegel, Rolling Hills Drive: She asks the Council to consider what the voters who voted for the budget want as well.


Shaun Mickus, Anna Drive: Feels that the members of the union are not bearing the fair share of the health care benefits.


Tom Tarn, Crease Road: Feels that maybe the NJEA should consider cutting dues to offset a wage freeze and feels the senior leadership of the union is out of control.


David Lavery, Kevin Drive: Asks the Council to give him some sense of what is going to be cut in the budget.

He feels the $2 million reduction of something that you know that they have no control over is not fiscally responsible.


Mr. Walsh: He feels that it's pretty clear, pay freeze or bodies.


President Tobey: Explains the process to Mr. Lavery.


Mr. Greenbaum: Also explains further the process of the Subcommittee and responsibilities.


Tara and Victoria, juniors at MOHS: Speaks of the benefits of going to Mount Olive High School and asks the Council not to cut programs.


Pam Sexton, Washington Street: Feels that the Council does not understand the impact it will have if the budget is cut drastically. She asks Mr. Stefiniw if anyone on the Subcommittee had any educational back ground.


Mr. Stefiniw: Responds, “no.”


Pam Sexton, Washington Street: Asks Mr. Tobey if there was a recommendation that there be a zero increase.


President Tobey: Answers, “That is correct.”


Sandy Albert, Chester Avenue: Wants to remind the people that the question on the ballot had nothing to say about a Teacher's freeze or a salary freeze. She feels it is ridiculous for Mr. Walsh to say that the public has spoken and they want a wage freeze.


Steven Wagner, student at MOHS, Richard Drive: Feels realistically that the teachers are not going to take a pay freeze. Thanks Mr. Greenbaum for responding to his e-mail.


Matt Wagner, graduate of MOHS, Richard Drive: Asks the Council to reconsider the budget.


Dennis Mok, Flanders: He has three children in the Mount Olive School System. Asks the Council to reconsider the cuts they want to make.


Steven Leonard, Teacher at MOHS: Asks the Council to use good judgment and not to cut the budget and give the kids the opportunity that they currently have today.


President Tobey: At this time I'm going to ask Mr. Walsh to please move Resolution #1 entitled:


Resolution Re: 2010-2011 Certification of Tax levy (School Budget)


Mr. Walsh: I move Resolution #1 for passage.


President Tobey: I'll second that. Council comments, Mrs. Labow?




Mrs. Labow: Thank you Mr. Tobey. This is a very tough decision and everybody certainly has a lot of reasons to want to, not to have the budget cut. I will say, speaking from personal experience, some of the questions were asked… pay raises, pay decreases, whatever. I used to have a very successful business that due to the economy tanked so I actually took about $50,000.00 a year reduction in pay. I pay about $12,000.00 a year in medical benefits and they're not that great. I had a serious illness last year and I'm now facing $20,000.00 in medical bills that my insurance did not cover. I have no idea how I'm going to pay that. On top of everything else, my family might be losing our house very shortly. With that said I feel very strongly that Dr. Reynolds and the Board of Education has done an excellent job. Dr. Reynolds was able to take the budget last year and save $2 million. He said something very profound actually at the Council meeting. Normally you worked that hard and saved that kind of money, there would be applause but he didn't get applause for his hard efforts and all the ideas and things that he implemented. This year he was planning on a 0% tax increase and the State cut his funding by $3million. The $2 million he saved was eaten up immediately forcing the situation we have today. I understand that teachers don't want to take a pay freeze; I wish that they would but we also have a contract coming up, negotiations next year. I would request that we amend this Resolution to take into consideration that we already know that the teachers will not take a pay freeze. Hopefully next year they will not get an increase, that it will be zero. I think a pay freeze this year will only cost us more money next year because that's still going to have to be paid. Gentlemen, we had to face this in our Town this year. We went through this already. I would like to propose that, I believe Mr. Higgins; from Mr. Higgins firm you can confirm this… that the actual recommendation from your firm was $664,268.00?


Mr. Piccone: Just to clarify, the $2 million is a levy reduction, $664,000 are additional revenues and the $1.3 million are the appropriation cuts.


Mrs. Labow: Is the auditor, Gary Higgins' firm, are you recommending that we cut the budget by $1.1 million considering a teachers' pay freeze, is that the auditors recommendation?


Mr. Tobey: The recommendation on the table, Mrs. Labow, is the Resolution before us.


Mrs. Labow: I'm asking Mr. Tobey… our professional auditor, who has an excellent reputation in budgets and auditing, looked over this with a fine tooth comb…


Mr. Piccone: I'm sorry, Mr. Higgins did review it and I think that his recommendations are in line with what the budget committee came up with.


Mrs. Labow: So Mr. Higgins found $2 million in recommended cuts?


President Tobey: Mrs. Labow, he did not identify $2 million in cuts. The Subcommittee identified, with the assistance of Mr. Higgins.


Mrs. Labow: I'm just trying to find out Mr. Tobey, what did Mr. Higgins recommend? That's not a difficult question.


Mr. Piccone: The only thing I can say is that the numbers were verified with the school district. Mr. Higgins asked for some information along with the budget committee. We received that information and those numbers we examined and, are part of the Resolution.


Mrs. Labow: Obviously, I'm not going to get an honest answer this evening. I'm going to have to vote “no.”


President Tobey: I believe Mr. Piccone answered it. Mrs. Labow, do you have any other comments?


Mrs. Labow: I voted no and I wanted to say that…


President Tobey: We're not taking a vote yet Mrs. Labow. We're doing Council Comments.


Mrs. Labow: We're doing Council Comments, well then I will be voting no and I do want to say that while my family is really stressed financially, the $20.00 a month certainly would be well worth the education our children are getting. I do want to very strongly say, teachers, please… the unions, I do agree with a lot of the comments that are being said. The dues that you guys have to pay for the union bosses that are making a $500,000 driving around in very expensive cars and living in $2 or $3 mansions has got to stop. You guys do have to stand up and say, cut the um… Tom Tarn made a very good point, and maybe you guys pay less dues. Next year a contract is coming up and you guys have to help us out here because you know what, as much as I feel our kids need a really great education, if the teachers get another raise I'll be out there, door to door begging people to vote no on the budget. I don't mean that as a threat, it's just the way I feel. Something's got to stop here.


President Tobey: Thank you, Mr. Walsh?


Mr. Walsh: I've just got a few things to say, number one, and I do firmly believe this. I don't know if it will fall on deaf ears but we do have a great school system, I do appreciate the teachers. I have kids in the schools and my daughters had a great experience so I commend all the teachers for the school system we have and I do mean that sincerely. We as legislators are given a task to do what the people have asked us to do. There was a vote. Who showed up, who didn't show up, that argument just really doesn't hold water. Secondly, I heard a lot of people say; well maybe you could just not do any cuts. The voters voted for us to cut. It's our job to cut. It's not an option in my opinion. That's what they said and our job is to do what they say. Thirdly, we as a committee have recommended a pay freeze, whether it is done or not is up to you. I understand you have said no. It's what we believe should happen. We have thought it through as much as you can and we really believe that, that is what's best for the kids and that's what's right in the economic times. We will not have to make any cuts if the teachers accept a pay freeze so that's where we stand. Whether you do it or not is up to you but that's where we stand and that's what we're saying here today and thank you very much.


President Tobey: Thank you, Mr. Mania?


Mr. Mania: I think the Committee has done a tremendous job. They're focusing on the budget. I think the Board of Education did a tremendous job and had the State not made the cuts they made we would be in decent shape. Unfortunately we've already made cuts with Town employees. These are difficult times and there are tough decisions to be made and we as Council members have an obligation to all the residents in Mount Olive not specific groups, thank you.


President Tobey: Thank you, Mr. Perkins?


Mr. Perkins: Thank you Mr. President. First, some very impassioned statements from a lot of our students, thank you. I know it takes a lot of guts to get up in front of people and talk until it becomes a knack. To the ones that are oppressed by high taxes, I'm one of them. I don't think there is anyone sitting in this room that's not over oppressed by high taxes, but there was a good statement made by Denise Mars when she came up and I've used this statement before that said, taxation with proper representation is not the worst thing in the world. Of course, if I called it a fee and I don't call it a tax because the tax revolt people get all nervous with the word “tax,” so if I tell you it's only going to be a fee of $150.00 a month to bus your kid back and forth but the general tax payer won't have to pay $150.00 a year for that same benefit which they also get to deduct on the federal income tax which they won't get to deduct if it's a “fee” because it will no longer be part of the tax so as Obama raises your taxes, you'll have nothing more to deduct but you'll have that fine thing in your pocket that said, I had tax relief. On the other hand, I have to look at what's happening across the United States and how it affects us here in what we used to call little Mount Olive 24 years ago and yes to those who have taken a cut in their salaries, I too took a cut. I took a 25% cut in January 2009 then another 15% cut in June, then a 50% cut in my salary, then my mother moved in with me and things just have not gotten all that much better for any of us. We all realize it's tough. As Mr. Mania said and even Mr. Walsh and even Mrs. Labow and I'm sure it's been echoed by the Council and our committee, our Subcommittee and I want to thank you guys for coming up with what had to be a tough decision to work through. My wife is a union member, my son is a union member, and I'm a past union member. I was a teamster, Amalgamated Meat Cutters. I know what unions are. This country was built on the back of unions with union labor and those are the people that did it. Somewhere along the line, my ex wife who was a school teacher, my father who taught radio electronics at Wilkes College, and the rest of my family that has taught math and Science, I know what school teaching is all about. I remember when it was a $20,000.00 a year job and everybody worked at home because my wife and I, my ex wife, we didn't have a whole lot of time during the evenings because she was always correcting something or coming up with some other lesson plan or something else for the next day and that's what a teachers life is all about. I think you ought to be going back and considering what a wage freeze would do. Are you making enough now to stay in your house? Can you pay your mortgage? Some of us can't. Some of us are really having a tough time doing that. I know what your union representatives are going to tell you but you guys are the voting members. The Council has looked at a Resolution now which says, here's our recommendation. Go back and take a wage freeze. That will suffice along with the other items that are in there. If that can't happen then the same answer goes back as goes to every other person in the United States. If you can't take a cut in your salary or at least a freeze, then you run the risk of losing people. What programs have to be cut will be made arduously and very tough decisions being made by your Board of Education, your school Superintendant, the principals and vice principals will have to pick. Will class sizes get larger? I had 35 people in every single class I can ever remember, going from kindergarden right up through high school so six kids in a class is not a good class size. Twenty, twenty five, maybe it goes to that. I'd hate for you to lose people but I'd hate to continue to see the spiraling increase of taxes every single year that are causing more and more people to be unable to afford to clothe their children properly to send them to the schools. Thank you Mr. President.


President Tobey: Thank you, Mr. Roman?


Mr. Roman: When I signed on to be on the budget committee, I didn't take my task lightly but I feel that I'm representing not just the people that voted for that budget or did not vote for that budget but I feel that my position is to represent Mount Olive as a whole. I have asked on numerous occasions about the teachers accepting a wage freeze. The question that I would have asked Mr. Spangler is, being faced with possible layoffs, would you still advise your membership not to accept a wage freeze. I see many people in my line of work, on the average of five to eight people a day and what always comes out of their mouth is I cannot afford to live in Mount Olive. Every once in a while I get the school system is great, everything's wonderful but 90% of what I hear is, I cannot afford to live in Mount Olive. People are moving away. Mr. McEntee I believe said, people with means will move out. They've moved out already. Now what is left, are the people who can barely afford to leave, are finding ways to move out. We are being over taxed and I hope the teachers heard the students that spoke tonight, when they consider whether they would accept a wage freeze. They made an impassion plea for us not to cut anything further in the budget but sitting here as I was listening to that, I was wondering what the teachers were hearing. If they inside were thinking, I cannot see these students have this program cut or that program cut and I would consider accepting a wage freeze. I myself have seen over 30% cut in my income and I don't see it going up any time soon. I know what it's like, I would easily say the majority of people in here, having to cut here and cut there. I believe one of the students said, Mr. Stansberry said the choice is yours. Well I say to you, unions, the teachers, the choice is yours. Look to your right, look to your left. Are you willing to sacrifice the teacher sitting next to you here or sitting next to you at the lounge? Would you be willing to let them go so that you can make sure you receive your wage increase? Remember, it's for the children, thank you.


President Tobey: Thank you, Mr. Greenbaum?


Mr. Greenbaum: Thank you, I would just about rather be sitting anywhere but here this evening because this is just gut wrenching. I vote for the budget every year, not because I think it's a good budget because I don't want to sit here and have to decide these issues and I hope every year that the budget passes. I think it's incredibly unfair for the budget committee and for this Council to look to the teachers with respect to where we are but I also think it's incredibly incumbent upon us as Council members to start doing something about taxes in Mount Olive. Someone said down the line, we represent all of Mount Olive. I think a lot of people in this room fall into two different groups; users of the school system, students, parents, teachers and non users of the school system; seniors and other people who don't have kids in the school system. Then there was a small group of people who overlapped, who had kids in the school system but also supported the idea of a cut. Now, I think the Resolution… I think the budget committee did a great job. I'm very satisfied with the work that you guys did under incredibly difficult circumstances and I was happy, extremely happy when Mr. Tobey told me, or asked me if it would be okay that I didn't participate in the budget committee this year because I knew what an onerous task to undertake this year. Denise Mars got up and gave a very passioned statement with respect to, this is actually going to cost a lot of people more money and yes it will because that's the way we're going in today's society. We're going to user fees so that the people who use the system are going to pay for the system and it's going to cost more. If you're going to want to have your kid bussed to school and bussing is what's cut, it's going to cost you more money. If you're going to want to have your kid participate in a sport and sports are what is going to be cut by the Board of Education, it's going to cost you more money. I guarantee you that as we move forward with this budget cut and it's going to happen this evening and I… the bottom line is that those people who want to participate in the different activities and services that the Board of Education is going to provide for a fee are going to spend more money to have the same services that they previously had by way of their taxes but by the same token, those people who don't use the system are going to have a decrease. I have to agree with Mr. Tobey, having sat up on the Town Council for better than ten years. You cannot, cannot look at even a $25.00 or $30.00 reduction as a de minimis reduction. There is no such thing as a de minimis reduction because you can see what type of impact a $2 million cut has in terms of services and ultimately what type of savings that you ultimately see but it does add up, and it adds up year after year after year after year and we have to reverse the cycle at this point. Now the Resolution I think is terrible. I agree with you Mark wholeheartedly. When you got up here and you started talking about the fact, what's plan “B” because we're going to follow this. You know exactly what plan “B” is and you should have gotten up here and said it. You should have said, you know what, this Resolution, if the teachers don't take the cut is going to require us to cut teachers, services, activities, and that's what you're ultimately forcing us to do and I agree with you Mr. Werner. That is exactly what we are asking you to do at this point. That is where we're going with education, that is where we're going with municipal services and that's what the people in Mount Olive want. Not everybody, certainly not the users of the programs because it will cost them more. They will see a reduction in services and they will see increased cost associated with that, which they do participate in. Mr. McEntee, I agree with you wholeheartedly in terms of how much we spend and the great job that the educators do in town. They do a fantastic job. I have three kids in the school system and I support the Mount Olive school system. I think they get a great education. I think our physical plant is exceptional, I think our teachers do a great job with what we provide them. We are now asking them to do even a greater job with what we provide them which is going to be less than what we've provided them in the past. To the Board of Education as a whole, I think you guys do a great job. I've always supported the Board of Education. You guys are taxpayers in town. You're looking to do the best for our kids as are we all. We have a greater responsibility in terms of the community, in terms of who we represent. You guys look out for the interest of the school children, to a certain degree you represent the entire town because what you do does impact the entirety of the municipality in terms of property values, in terms of safety issues but the bottom line and we recognized this on the Town Council, is that we are going to user fees. We are moving away from tax increase and those who participate in the activities are going to ultimately pay more for the services. Now, having said that, I would like nothing greater than for the teachers to step up to the plate and take a wage freeze and not lose any teachers. Do I think that they should? I think that is an individual decision that they have to make. Just like me sitting up here, I'm willing to sacrifice. If the teachers were to ultimately take a wage freeze, I would forgo $2,000.00 of my Council salary as a gesture to say, we all have to share in the pain this year because that's where we're going and I would suggest that all of the Council members up here who are suggesting that the teachers take a pay freeze, ultimately look at that as a gesture of, we're all in this together. We can reduce the Town budget by a certain degree; we can reduce the Board of Education budget by a certain degree and keep the level of services at relatively the same level. Thank you.


President Tobey: Thank you. I would like to begin by thanking the Subcommittee, Mr. Roman, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Uhrmann and Mr. Stefiniw for taking on the daunting task of reviewing and setting forth a recommendation for the Council's consideration of the Mount Olive Board of Education 2010 – 2011 school budget. I would like to thank Gary Higgins, our independent auditor, and Mr. Piccone for an outstanding job, identifying costs that require paring down. Speaking on behalf of myself and not the committee, I must admit this process has been an eye opening experience as to how we as a community have gotten to where we are today. As many of you know, I used various methods to reach out to the community in an effort to openly and responsibly represent my constituents and as a result of reaching out to the community I've been chastised by the establishment for doing so. From the onset of forming the Subcommittee I've been met with unscrupulous solicitations and offers of private meetings to character assassinations, damaging innuendos and out and out lies. I can say without hesitation that the process leaves much to be desired. I was elected into office to represent the people, all the people. Not one particular group or union, the people as are the representatives of the Mount Olive School Board. I find it extremely troubling, the undertones as what may appear to be as incestuous relationship between certain board members, school representatives and the teachers union. After this overall experience, I am left with wondering who is representing the tax payers. With that said, I am committed to my promise to the residents who entrusted me with their support, believing that I delivered due diligence regardless of the attacks. I will remind you that we are here today because the community at large did not believe the Mount Olive Board of Education delivered a responsible budget which clearly indicates that somewhere along the way; they lost the people's trust. I, for one, am proud of the sub committee's review and proposal. They delivered a responsible budget that identified excessive items to be cut that would not impact the educational foundation or delivery to promote our children in an academically accelerated and competitive world. Therefore and without further ado I will now ask that we move the Subcommittee's recommendation to a formal vote. Mrs. Lashway…

Mrs. Labow: I have one question I want to ask before I vote. Rob mentioned a $2,000.00 cut from Council members. Can we take a side vote and say…


President Tobey: Mrs. Labow, that's a Council item that we can bring up at the next meeting and we can do that on Tuesday.


Mrs. Labow: I have to say if the Council does want to take a $2,000.00 a year cut, definitely the teachers could step up and take a pay freeze.


President Tobey: Roll Call please.


Mrs. Labow: I'm going to have to say, I am going to vote “no” to this Resolution and again, reiterate what I said before, teachers, please… no more raises.


ROLL CALL – Passed with the exception of Mrs. Labow who voted no.




Motion was made and seconded, all in favor and none opposed, the meeting was adjourned at 10:24pm.



Phil Tobey, Council President


I, Michelle Masser, Deputy Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on July 27, 2010.




Michelle Masser, Deputy Township Clerk





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