By Tanaya Badsa, ’16
Many students in the history of JP Stevens have pushed to pass the budget, but how many of us know what it is composed of? On March 21, 2013, Superintendent Richard O’Malley represented the Edison Township School District at the annual Budget Public Hearing and proposed plans regarding the spending of taxpayer money for the following school year. It is usually difficult to predict the course the budget will take for any given year, and the most recent vote was no exception.
The issues of student enrollment, overcrowding, and competitive salaries pose many challenges; however, the BOE was confident that the budget, if passed, would achieve its goals: to maintain focus on teaching and learning, to spend wisely in order to maximize community investment, and to meet national educational standards.
The allotted money would be invested in obtaining numerous necessities such as staff, technology, and textbooks. The district has put a great emphasis on technology this year and hopes to continue doing so in the following years. Under this category, spending included the purchase of more laptops to achieve a 2-1 student-to-laptop ratio, as well as increased funding for laptop replacements, technology repair, TVs, printers, phones, firewalls, and spam filtering. Surprisingly enough, the proposed budget did not suggest any cuts toward programs and staff as it once did in the 2010 school budget. In fact, it strives to implement even more courses and activities. To illustrate this, language programs have been reinstated in elementary schools and will continue to expand. Also, additional business courses will be added in both JP Stevens and Edison High, after-school bussing will continue twice a week, and reinvestment in the music program in the form of expanding guitar classes in both high schools will continue throughout the school year. While some people see these expansions as innovative, others find them superfluous. “Honestly, I think this is a waste of funds!” freshman Anna Atkuru exclaims, “While it’s nice to use technology, a lot of classes don’t require the luxury of an iPad, much less a Promethean Board.”
$200,000 has been set aside to furnish the school buildings by adding more curbing, blacktops, pavement, and extensions (such as more lunch room space and classrooms) to ease overcrowding. Furthermore, $705,000 has been set aside for the “Capital Outlay Projects” in the high schools and middle schools. Specifically, the BOE wants to repair and renovate the stairwells, auditorium, home-ec rooms, and locker rooms in other schools. These are only a few of the many ideas discussed in the budget plan.
Update: These proposals will not be implemented, as the budget did not pass.