Roof Repairs, School Budget Pass
● By Anonymous
Midland Park voters approved both the school budget and the second question to fund roof replacements in today's election. The $20 million budget passed 975-to-637, a 60% majority. The $955,075 second question passed 1009-to-570, clearing the "super majority" needed by more than 60 votes.
"On behalf of the district, I would like to thank the voters in Midland Park who took the time to come out and vote on the school budget and second question," Board of Education President Bill Sullivan stated. "We are always happy when a budget passes. To overcome the 60% super majority needed on the second question shows we received a lot of support for the schools from the people of Midland Park."
The $20 million budget represents a 1.95-percent increase to the tax levy, and includes increases in staffing, programs and facilities, along with new science textbooks for grades K-12 that align with the new state-mandated Common Core Curriculum standards that the federal government intends to implement in all 50 states.
"There is nothing more gratifying as an educator to have validation of the community you serve and to have support for the work we do for our children," Schools Superintendent Dr. Marie Cirasella said. "I wish to thank everyone who took the time to vote in this critical election and we are looking forward to continue to do good work."
The district received support from the Community Alliance of Midland Park or CAMP, a new nonprofit civic group that worked to promote the school budget and roof repairs. CAMP used the slogan "Stop The Rain" and placed umbrellas on lawns to show support for the vote.
"Midland Park has its heart in the right place," CAMP President Patricia Fantulin responded to the vote. "When it comes down to the crunch, Midland Park people come out to be counted."
Taxes on an average home assessed at $392,000 will increase by $134.23 for the school portion of the tax bill, plus and additional $352.96 for the second question, which will be paid for one year only.
District officials said the process of the roof replacements will begin immediately and the work is expect to be completed over the summer.
The three board seats that were up for election ran uncontested. Trustee Brian McCourt was the top vote earner with 1,000 votes, followed by Rich Formicola with 993, and Sandra Criscenzo with 956 votes.
Of the borough's 4,840 registered voters, 34% cast ballots in the election. Five absentee ballots were cast, but had not been counted as of Tuesday night and will not impact the results.
Midland Park is one of a few school districts in the state to continue to hold school budget elections in April. Last year a law went into effect to allow districts to move their trustee elections to November and eliminate budget votes entirely.
Out of the 590 school districts in New Jersey, only 39 are holding elections today. Last year, 70 districts put budgets to a vote, with nine out 10 budgets passing.