School Board Encourages Citizens To Attend Budget Meeting

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ELIZABETH – School district leaders are encouraging citizens from throughout the community to attend a meeting on the 2010-2011 budget tonight at 7 p.m. at Dwyer Academy, 600 Pearl Street. This presentation will focus on what millions of dollars in potential budget cuts will mean to the district, its students and team members.

Voters rejected the school district’s proposed 2010-2011 budget last month, following a campaign against it by City Council members Frank Cuesta, Ed Jackus, Patricia Perkins-Auguste, Manny Grova, Nelson Gonzalez, Joe Keenan and Bill Gallman.

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The budget is currently under review by the City Council, and members have indicated plans to propose millions of dollars in cuts.

School Board President Carlos Trujillo has said the district’s budget team already worked diligently to identify effective ways to reduce the burden on Elizabeth taxpayers.

“Our school district proposed a budget that provides for a thorough and efficient education,” Trujillo said. “The environment that has been created to pursue deeper cuts to the budget is not helpful to the dialogue and to the education of our children”.

The board president indicates that the school district faces a significant decrease in spending over last year, pointing out that federal aid to the district has decreased eight percent and state aid has decreased 2.4 percent.  Total expenditures district-wide have already been decreased by $8 million dollars over last year, according to school board officials.

The Elizabeth Board of Education has communicated directly with the state regarding personal conflicts that certain members of Elizabeth City Council have in their efforts to make decisions on budgetary cuts that impact students and team members.

According to the school board, the council representatives with a personal conflict of interest include:

  • Councilman Frank Cuesta who is employed as the principal at Nicholas Murray Butler School No. 23 and whose wife is a teacher at Abraham Lincoln School No. 14
  • Councilman Carlos Cedeno, whose wife is a principal at Terence C. Reilly School No. 7.
  • Councilman Edward Jackus, who is a supervisor of physical education within the school system.
  • Councilman Joseph Keenan, whose wife who is employed as a child development associate at the Center for Infant Development and
  • Councilman Frank Mazza, who is also a teacher at Admiral William F. Halsey Jr. Leadership Academy.

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  • aem910

    So the Elizabeth BOE is complaining that some members of the city council are against the budget. And how do they retaliate? By crying conflict of interest amoung the council members who are connected to the BOE. Wait, what?? Wouldn’t that conflict make council members be in FAVOR of the budget? I totally agree, there is an inherent conflict of interest for council members to have personal ties to the BOE. This should not be allowed. Interesting how virtually every challenger running for council in June works for, or has ties to, the BOE. But no conflict of interest there, right?