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DeLuca: School Budget Cuts Are Coming

Terebush says ballot confusion may have swung vote on school referendum

The township council will definitely make cuts to the defeated school tax levy, Council President Brian DeLuca told Brick Patch. Meanwhile, Board of Education President Kim Terebush said she was “shocked” when the election results came in Wednesday showing voters had rejected the school tax levy referendum.

“It wasn't a mandate, but it was defeated,” DeLuca said of the school referendum. “The taxpayers are expecting us to make some type of cut.” 

DeLuca said township officials have already been in touch with James Edwards, the district’s business administrator, but council members will wait until after the school board reorganizes May 5 before it begins formally reviewing the spending plan, which was . A second referendum asking voters to approve $8.6 million in above-cap spending on the municipal government side passed. The school tax levy, which was within cap, failed, meaning the township council will now review the figures and potentially make cuts, in accordance with state law.

“Whoever the new [school board] president is, I'm looking forward to sitting down with him or her,” said DeLuca.

Since candidates aligned with Terebush lost to candidates aligned with board members John Talty and Warren Wolf, it is unlikely Terebush will remain board president. A vote will be held to elect a president at the May 5 reorganization meeting.

For her part, Terebush said she was shocked and disappointed that voters did not support the proposed school tax levy, which would have translated to a tax increase of about $55 per year for the average Brick homeowner.

“We did our homework and we were able to come under the 2 percent cap,” said Terebush.

“It is shocking to me that we would vote for garbage pickup but not our children’s education,” she said, alluding to the fact that public garbage pickup would have been eliminated if the municipal referendum was defeated.

Terebush also said she “absolutely” believes the physical layout of the ballot was part of the reason the school referendum was defeated.

The school question was positioned on the top-right side of the ballot while the township referendum was positioned near the bottom-left. Speculation has run rampant since the votes were counted that some residents who may have intended to vote against the municipal budget may have mistakenly voted against the school budget since it was the first referendum to appear on the ballot, at about eye-level. Unofficial totals from the Ocean County Clerk show the school question received approximately 1,500 more votes than the highly controversial municipal question.

For DeLuca, who served as school board president before being elected to the township council, the review process he will follow will include a committee of council members as well as a citizens’ committee which will be charged with reviewing the budget and making suggestions.

“We'll have a lot of different eyes looking at it,” DeLuca said.

patriotmfd May 03, 2011 at 09:21 PM
The intent is not to cut programs from the kids…. but to make the teachers and administrator pay more of their benefits…. if you rubber stamps every increase the increases will increase… there is waste and redundancy and spoilage in the budget as in Toms River. Get rid of the assistant administrator’s assistant ??? Some of the 83% ( $$$ 116 million) payroll a year needs to be spent on maintaining the buildings not the teachers over the top health and retirement benefits!!!.....its crazy
disgusted homeowner May 04, 2011 at 12:06 PM
I find it ironic that a group of council people who can't control spending in the municipal budget and spend taxpayer money like drunken sailors, are going to be the same people who review our school budget.. They never saw real estate they didn't want to buy, or a sport or activity they didn't want to add, or friends and family they didn't want to hire. And this is the group running a town this size???? Bricktucky?????? Ring a bell????? God forbid if one of them had an ounce of fiscal responsibility in them.
disgusted homeowner May 04, 2011 at 12:11 PM
Because of econmics, I will probably have to work till my full retirement age of almost 67. I can't fathom allowing these public workers to retire at 50 and 55. But when the pension fund is empty and there's no more checks, then and only then will reality set in. The governor has warned them this could happen, and pension plans in this country default and go broke EVERY DAY. Their pension accounts are shaky to say the least. I hope the governor continues to take the hard line he has, otherwise the state will be bankrupt. It's time the public sector is treated EXACTLY like those of us in the private sector. Pay a fair amount for your healthcare just like the rest of us do.
disgusted homeowner May 04, 2011 at 12:24 PM
Dail, the ones who couldn't bother to get out and vote are the ones who will complain the loudest when the tax bills hit the mailbox on August 1, 2011. They'll act like they knew nothing about the referendum or the tax increase to go with it. Let them go into foreclosure, i don't care if they didn't care enough to just vote. I believe the town has roughly 50,000 registered voters and less than 20,000 showed up on such an important issue. That truly is a shameful mark on an uneducated electorate. But they will be yelling on Aug.1!!!!!!!
disgusted homeowner May 04, 2011 at 12:28 PM
And furthermore, i don't consider paying 1.5% a fair contribution at all, and certainly the eight tenths of one percent that the PBA pays towards their cadillac healthcare is disgraceful !!!!!!! But this mayor OK'D that contract too!!!!!!

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