2005-04-28 / Front Page

Ocean Township voters approve school budget

Taxes will rise 3.3 percent in Ocean, decrease in Loch Arbour
BY LINDA DeNICOLA Staff Writer

BY LINDA DeNICOLA
Staff Writer

OCEAN TOWNSHIP — Voters approved the passage of the Ocean Township School District’s 2005-06 spending plan with a tax levy of $44,143,259 on April 19.

The tax levy represents a 3.3 percent increase, or $1,429,561.

According to Ken Jannarone, business administrator/board secretary, 19 percent of registered voters cast their ballots. That includes Loch Arbour, which sends about 18 students to the schools.

Of the 3,477 votes that were cast, 1,925 voted for the budget and 1,552 against.

Last year, the budget was defeated by only six votes. According to Jannarone, that defeat was unusual; it had passed for the previous five or six years.

When the Board of Education reorganized on Tuesday night, two incumbents were installed as well as one newcomer.

Four residents were vying for the three three-year seats on the Ocean Township and Loch Arbour board.

Incumbents James R. Wagner, who lives on Lancaster Drive and has been a board member since 1993, and Arthur Mahoney, who lives on Oxford Drive and is completing his first term, won their re-election bids as did newcomer Janet Surmonte, who lives on North Edgemere Drive. She is taking the seat that was held by her husband, Charles Surmonte, who decided not to run again.

With the approval of the budget, the average homeowner, with a home assessed at $445,000, will see a $156 tax increase annually.

Loch Arbour residents can expect to see a .002-cent decrease in taxes per $100 of assessed property value. On a home assessed at $400,000, annual taxes would decrease by $6.29 annually.

According to Jannarone, the largest budget increases are due to approximately $800,000 in instructional staff salary increases and newly created positions; $370,000 in educational equipment and capital improvements; and $629,000 for out-of-district private school special education placements and new teachers and aides for special education programs.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas M. Pagano said that with this budget, the district will be able to maintain all current staff and programs. Budget initiatives for the 2005-06 school year include hiring a teacher and aide for multiply disabled students in the elementary schools as well as a part-time special education resource teacher and the establishment of a preschool disabled integrated program at the Wanamassa and Wayside schools. The budget also includes provisions for the hiring of a district-wide computer technician, updating all maps and globes, and needed safety and security improvements.

At the intermediate school, budget initiatives include hiring a supervisor of instruction and a special education resource teacher, and expanding the intermediate sports program to allow increased student participation.

In addition, there are plans to replace the original carpet in the library and hire a supervisor of instruction for grades seven through 12.

At the high school, a full-time social studies teacher and an English teacher, as well as a part-time science teacher will be hired. The former auto shop will be converted to a TV production studio and architectural drawing classroom, including renovations to performing arts classrooms and equipment upgrades, and portable wireless computer labs for science and the world languages department.

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