ELIZABETH— Four City Council members who promised to cut taxes if voters rejected the school budget are now planning a steep tax increase atop layoffs.
Sources say Councilmen Manny Grova, Nelson Gonzalez, Joseph Keenan and Bill Gallman want a property tax hike of at least $160. Gonzalez and Gallman favor the elimination of 150 school security positions. Gonzalez and Keenan prefer privatizing about 300 food service jobs.
All four councilmen are eager to impose teacher layoffs, although they differ on how many of the city’s educators should be axed. They also seem to be in agreement on stopping the district from leasing four Catholic schools that are no longer in use for education.
Before voters went to the polls on April 20, Grova, Gonzalez, Keenan and Gallman paid to print and mail cards encouraging people to reject the spending plan. A source said politicians in City Hall are able to exert political influence over public education only if the annual budget is defeated by voters.
Three councilmen allied with the mayor, Ed Jackus, Frank Cuesta and Frank Mazza, are employed by the school district.
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