Home School News Brick School Budget Sheds 16 Jobs, Hikes Taxes by $3.5M

Brick School Budget Sheds 16 Jobs, Hikes Taxes by $3.5M

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Board of Education members debate at the Jan. 7, 2016 meeting. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Board of Education members debate at the Jan. 7, 2016 meeting. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick taxpayers will have to reach further into their wallets to pay the annual school tax levy for the 2016-17 school year.

After initially turning down a $5.7 million tax increase, then proposing a $2.3 million increase, the final increase expected to be adopted by the board at a special meeting Monday will be $3.5 million, above the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap.

The district can raise taxes above the cap this year because they did not raise taxes in prior years. Under a controversial mechanism known as a “cap bank,” school districts are free to raise taxes above the cap by the difference they remained under it over the three prior years. For the average Brick resident with a home assessed at $293,600, the $149,999,323 spending plan will cost an additional $98.90 per year in property taxes. That figure is in addition to tax increases from the municipal and county governments.

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The budget eliminates 14 teaching positions, though 10 will be through attrition, said Interim Superintendent Thomas Gialanella. One administrator position, which is not currently filled, and one teacher aide position will also be cut.

The additional tax increase tacked on since the board adopted a tentative budget last month can mainly be traced to increased employee healthcare costs, which are still something of an unknown to district officials. The district’s new insurance broker has recommended switching to a self-insurance plan, but still advised Business Administrator James Edwards to add more than $500,000 to the budget.

The budget also funds repairs to Brick Township High School’s East Gym, which has fallen into disrepair, plus technology investments and the addition of a STEM Academy at both high schools (see separate story).

Board President John Lamela, a school administrator in Jackson Township, defended the increased healthcare costs but admitted the budget was not “pleasant.”

“We just have to balance our books and pay the bills,” said Lamela.

The board has set a meeting for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Technology Training Center in the district’s central office where the spending plan is expected to be adopted.

Numerous residents said tax increases would be a hardship, especially given New Jersey’s dubious status as the state with the highest property taxes in the nation.

“How elaborate of health care benefits are you going to allow the employees of the district to get before the people of the town can’t afford it?” resident Larry Reid asked, citing annual health insurance premiums for district employees that can eclipse $30,000 for family plans. “The people of this town in private industry do not have the low co-pays that the people in the Cadillac plans have, and at some point you’re going to have to make adjustments to that. The townspeople who don’t work for a school district or a public entity have to absorb those costs.”

“Look at the number of houses for sale,” said resident Victor Finamore, telling board members that people are moving out of Brick due to the level of taxation.

“There is not a money tree, and the taxpayers are not a Mac machine,” said board member Karyn Cusanelli.

Some board members were more positive on the budget, citing hard work put in by officials to bring down the tax levy from the initial proposal.

“To me, it sounds like 30 cents a day,” said board member John Barton. “It’s not like we’re on the board to just throw money around in places where it doesn’t have to be put.”

“I don’t want higher taxes, I don’t want to pay more money, but at the same time I have children in the district and we’re investing in their future,” said board member Stephanie Wohlrab. “My father always said, ‘you get what you pay for.'”


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  • SoWhat?

    The teachers and teachers union supported Obama and Obamacare so Put Them In It.
    Obamacare for all Teachers and Cops and Government employees.
    Obamacare sucks and is a rip off but the democrats love it so put them in it.

    • J W

      There’s no such medical provider as ‘Obamacare’ you morons. The closest thing it did was create an exchange to buy a plan from a private provider. Besides, as an employer of such size, the BoE is obligated to provide healthcare to employees first under state law and then federal law.

      • SoWhat?

        Ok Vera

    • Hydra Trump

      YES! Every teacher voted for Obama. Now make them pay!

  • SoWhat?

    Was John Barton and his wife teachers in Brick.

    • Wally Statler

      Barton teaches in Jackson, his wife in Brick. Lamela admin in Jackson (retired cop/disability)and his wife an aid in Middletown shcools. White retired admin from Jackson, Pakala teaches in Freehold adn works for Brick Farmers Market. Wohlrab lives off political donors. https://education.state.nj.us/ethics/discforms.php?c=29;d=0530;s=153587;dl=20160201
      Of course they love hiking up budget. Treasurer of Ocean County Democratic Committee is new board attorney Montenegro. even uses his office address. FOLLOW THE MONEY BRICK! meeting monday let your voice be heard

    • Hydra Trump

      Youre comon cents writings is proof that teachers are’nt needed in bRick!

  • Mike

    Fire the teachers but keep the outrageously paid Principals and Vice Principals, and Vice Vice Principals and all the other do nothing patronage jobs.

    • Smokin

      Cut 2 asst .principals…1 superintendent.1 B.A…big money saved..

    • Hydra Trump

      AGREE! If the district spends most of its money on the teachers, eliminating every teacher position will reduce most costs! IT’S JUST EVERY DAY MATH, people!

  • Chief Wahoo

    The public takers keep taking and taking. But the sheep have finally been woken up. That’s what happens when they get greedy and shear close to the flesh. Capital Bank. What a theft wrapped up as legitimate. Pigs and sheep. That’s what we have here. Some animals are created more equally than others. Animal Farm is going to collapse. That’s what President Trump is all about. And why BOTH democRATS and republiCANTS hate him. The 2 gangs know their monopoly of status quo will end.

    • realcheeseyo

      How many tinfoil hats do you own?

      • Hydra Trump

        WAHOO IS A GREAT MAN.

    • Hydra Trump

      Chief, be reasonable. It’s funnier to say democRATS and republicANTS. That way they’re BOTH creatures! Stay safe, brother!

  • Chief Wahoo

    As for this budget. Disgraceful !!! That $98 increase they always love to quote, is just the median price, 50% will be more, most much more. Plus the $98 increase does NOT include county or municipal INCREASES!!!! In this Greatest Depression Where do these public takers think people are going to find an extra $300 a year ???? On top of rising health costs. Rising food. Rising rents. And rising prices at the gas pumps !!!!! The golden goose is not only dead. It’s been slaughtered.

    ANARCHO-CAPITALISM

  • Joseph Woolston Brick

    There are certain things one can do when you have had enough of being screwed. For instance, Comcast increased my fees by eight dollars, Comcast’s bill kept climbing, so I did some climbing, I put an antenna up on my roof, pointed it at NYC I get about 30 channels that’s enough for me, Bye bye Comcast you out priced yourself. I never ever was a coupon clipper, I’am now. I changed all my light bulbs to LED bulbs, what a difference they make! If my favorite eatery increases prices, I don’t go there anymore. But what do you do when you can’t afford to live in a town because of the taxes? Then it’s time to sell and get the hell out of Dodge (or Brick in this case) but it’s so expensive moving not to mention the stress and pulling up stakes in a town where you have lived for a long time and leaving behind friends and a neighborhood you love! then there’s the competition in Brick at this time to sell homes. It’s like the old gas station wars, Everyone keeps lowering the price of their homes in order to get the hell out of Brick and your making nothing on your house! Instead of going through all of that hassle, we can simply VOTE OUT these board members the next time they’re up for election, that easier and cheaper than the above!

    • Spock’s Brain

      The Previous Board from last year voted to give more than a 9% raise to all Brick BOE employees over 3 years. More than 3% each each. More than 80% of the any school budget in America is tied to salaries and benefits, so there is no wiggle room for the this year’s school board. Even with the staff 16 reductions, it’s impossible to avoid a 3% increase this year and there will likely be a 3% increase next year. If you are looking for who you should VOTE OUT, it’s the people that voted for the 9% pay raises last year.

    • Hydra Trump

      YES! TOTALLY AGREE! Cable bills are too high and incandescent bulbs are a scam! FIRE THE ENTIRE BOARD TODAY! I call upon the mayor to eliminate the BOE!

  • Surfrider

    One thing for sure, we have to band together and demand that all employees of Brick go on Obamacare. They vote for the Democrats and their baggage, so it is time to take on what they voted for! Their benefits are ridiculous, no private employers can afford the same benefits for their people. And if you are on Medicare, forget about it as far as what coverage you get compared to these “entitled” takers. If they want these cadillac benefits, let THEM pay more for the benefits. Otherwise, they should be reduced to lower plans with higher co-pays. Their should be no vehicles or gas for reasons of commuting for ANY employee in this town as well. Christies tax limits left a big gap in what these towns can do. It is so ridiculous that this nonsense that if the taxes were not raised to max each year (unless a vote takes place), they can pick up taxes the following year and go over the cap. That is a major flaw in his plan to stop the runaway taxes. It kills the whole reason for trying to cut things back and save money. This mentality is in all levels of state county and local government. “We gotta spend it, less we lose it” Why you do not need a brain to work there. Pensions need to be re-worked and demand 401Ks, it is the only answer. Again, state employees need to save for their futures on their own. Man, I could never imagine a job which you stay in your whole life, always getting increases, paid well over what the job calls for, and a 30-35 hour week, and overtime that you can easily get to perk up your retirement. Simply outrageous and “only in state government”. How many people do you know that can retire after working 20 years? And then go out and get another pension because you are fast tracked into another state job? Needs to stop!

  • Wally Statler

    Barton teaches in Jackson, his wife in Brick. Lamela admin in Jackson (retired cop/disability)and his wife an aid in Middletown shcools. White retired admin from Jackson, Pakala teaches in Freehold adn works for Brick Farmers Market. Wohlrab lives off political donors. https://education.state.nj.us/

    Of course they love hiking up budget. Treasurer of Ocean County Democratic Committee is new board attorney Montenegro. even uses his office address. FOLLOW THE MONEY BRICK! meeting monday let your voice be heard

    • Chief Wahoo

      This is the best post ever on Shorebeat pages. It says it all. Names the parasites and how they all TAKE public MONEY. It’s all they know how to do. (As long,as you don’t believe the other gang of thieves is any different)

  • JerseyShoreLibertarian

    Income is stagnant, rents rising drastically, insurance rising, taxes rising and yet we are told the economy is doing just fine. Wake up people! It’s long past time for government to suck it up and do with less, like the tax payers have to! Personally, I will vote to throw out anyone that votes to raise ANY tax, fee, etc. I have never voted in local elections before, but I am going to start. I’ve had enough!

    • Hydra Trump

      AGREE! I will not vote for this Super Intendant again!

  • J W

    The whiney cheap skates are out in full force. They haven’t raised taxes in years and this still isn’t even enough to keep up with inflation. Nobody’s leaving town over a measely $98. You spend more at a restaurant these days. You guys aren’t impressed by a lean organization, are you? Nevermind that Bricktucky taxes are still well below state average. Keep complaining though- you WHINERS always LOSE to LEADERS at the ballot box anyway!

    • jo jo ormaz

      Hey Jack !!!!! Take another look !! JW – since you must make well over $500K a year – why don’t you help pay people taxes here – unless you are apart of that Clean Slate – Ducey Team !! we loved Ducey a couple years ago,,, until we looked deep,,, now it’s hurting us.. everyone but people like you with money and a retirement plan…

      1,310 Brick, NJ Homes For Sale – UP!!
      547 Brick, NJ Foreclosures up!!
      ( another 200 homes abandoned or vacant lots in Brick )

      http://www.trulia.com/NJ/Brick/

      • J W

        You live in a good town that needs money to function, and that doesn’t come free- so please check your entitlement mentality. Why don’t you just shut up and pay your fair share of taxes like everyone else? These school taxes you love to whine about haven’t gone up in two or three years. You aren’t overburdened and overtaxed- this town is well below all averages in tax burdens.

        And I’ve already debunked your bogus real estate panic. Many of those listings are rentals and unbuildable lots of little value. Hardly an exodus.

      • Joseph Woolston Brick

        Not an exodus? I invite you to take a drive and count the homes for sale on and off of Princeton between the white bridge and the green bridge (yeah I’ve lived in Brick long enough that I still call it the green bridge) One day I had business in Point and took the back way (Princeton) to avoid the Benny’s. I couldn’t believe all the homes for sale on Princeton and in the pricey area of Princeton. I made a mental note that on the way back I was going to count all the homes for sale (not for rent) signs, I also decided to drive around North and South streets and other streets off of Princeton, I counted over 60 homes for sale in between the two bridges. SIXTY! This was around the early part of June last year. Most of those homes have been taken off the market as they didn’t sell. I’m an avid Zillow and Trulia looker upper just to see what’s out there in Brick and I can tell you your wrong about most of the homes being for rent or unsaleable lots. The homes are definitely for sale.

      • J W

        I rarely head over to that side of town, so I can’t confirm or deny your anecdote, but it is just an anecdote and one that can easily be exaggerated as such. I’ve been living in this town for a looooong time and I will say this- people are always moving in and moving out. Most of the outs seem to go to Florida. But you know why they leave? Because they retire or get new jobs. Nobody sells a house because of paltry tax hike that amount to $2 a week. Nobody. It costs more to sell a house than to find any savings in that sort of short-sightedness. The only people saying that clearly don’t know the first thing about real estate and are just trying to make a point through histrionics.

    • Joseph Woolston Brick

      I got rid of Comcast over a measely $8. For some of us $98 isn’t so measely especially when you combine it with everything else that is rising. Glad you have the big bucks there J.W.

      • J W

        Yeah, I got an extra $2 a week. If you’re that hard up, maybe you can do without an overpriced cup of coffee from Wawa one day a week. You know what $2 a week gets you. Not a whole lot. Hell, I think you could make an extra $2 a week picking up change on the street. It takes very little effort, you just need to look at the ground. It is in fact very little in the scope of things

  • SoWhat?

    Dan Nee, you keep letting this J W write his threatening insults on this forum. Why?

    • J W

      Nothing I ever said was threatening, so I demand that this slander be removed. Why does anyone allow you to post anything anywhere is beyond me- you just repeat the same angry old man gibberish over and over like a broken record none of which is based in fact.

      • SoWhat?

        Ok Vera

      • J W

        More cheap shots form a cheap lowlife.

      • Chief Wahoo

        I like reading what JW has to say. Dopey as 95% of it may be. Grow some thicker skin. We don’t need censorship just because you don’t like what someone else says. That’s what the Communist are for.

      • SoWhat?

        I don’t care about what J W / Vera writes, as long as she doesn’t call people morons and racists and stupid and other insults.

        Name calling on forums is the sure sign of a real life phony tough guy or girl as in J W / Vera’s case.

        Calling someone a lib or a con is one thing, but calling people morons , idiots, racist and stupid while hiding behind a computer should not be allowed.

      • J W

        The biggest name caller and open slanderer is saying this? Bleeding hypocrite. You are the chump hiding behind a computer.

  • Smokin

    Keep increasing taxes and force the good folks out and more section 8s will move in …