High School Joins Area Schools Moving Elections to November
Watchung, Green Brook districts also make change.
After reviewing the legal implications and taking turns commenting on the pros and cons, the Watchung Hills Regional Board of Education voted to move the annual school voting to November's general election, Monday.
The decision came on a 6-2 vote, with board member Jerry Binder, of Green Brook, ineligible to vote as a non-elected member representing the Green Brook Board of Education ( the district pays tuition and does not vote on the school budget). Peter Fallon, of Warren, and Peter Falzarano, of Long Hill, cast the two dissenting votes.
"I still firmly believe boards of education should not be telling the public the public does not have the right to vote on the budget," Fallon said.
But most members concurred with President Robert Horowitz's position that preventing damaging budget cuts after voters turn down a budget will be helpful.
He recalled the 2010 budget, which under the cap at the time and defeated by voters, which he noted was subsequently cut by the local municipal governments by $585,000.
"As a result of politics that had noting to do with this district, that budget was defeated," Horowitz said. "The State of New Jersey—the 'Great Hypocrites'—is not subject to the 2 percent cap. My feeling is that this is in the best interests of children."
The board also modified a resolution based on language recommended by the New Jersey School Boards Association, striking a paragraph that said the board "believes that dispensing with annual budget votes will save taxpayer dollars." The board discussed how much would be expected to be saved, and upon learning the county clerk will bill the district for its share of undefined "additional costs" of the general elections, questioned whether any savings will actually be realized.
"[The resolution] says you believe it, it doesn't mean it will come to pass," board attorney Paul Green said.
"But I don't believe it," Lisa DeMizio said, before making a motion to have the paragraph deleted.
After the discussions, Horowitz asked Fallon to introduce the resolution, but he said he wouldn't do so. DeMizio moved the amended resolution.