$2M School Budget Increase Possible

The Brick Board of Education (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – A tentative 2017-2018 school budget would see a $2 million increase over the previous budget and would just begin to address some of the district needs, said interim Superintendent Thomas Gialanella at the March 9 Board of Education meeting.

The $152,524,469 total budget would be supported by $105,528,441 in taxes, which represents an increase of about two percent.

Brick Board of Ed Building (Photo courtesy of Daniel Nee, Brick ShoreBeat)

The 2016-2017 school budget was $150 million with $103,511,385 raised in taxes.

“The budget will change as we sharpen our pencils and adjust line items,” Gialanella said. “It is being presented 12 to 18 months before we spend the money, so some of it is guessing.”

The interim superintendent introduced school facilities director William Kolibas, who said he and the administration had toured all the district buildings in October and November 2016 and had developed a three part list: projects that need to be completed as soon as possible; operational requests of day-to-day items (such as vehicles and equipment); and long-range facilities projects.

Kolibas presented slides from around the district that showed inside and outside doors that do not close, leaking roofs, uneven floors, torn auditorium chairs, broken bleachers, vehicles that don’t run, outdated custodial equipment, inefficient boilers, and much, much more.

Some of the slides showed crumbling curbs, sidewalks and parking lots. Business Administrator James Edwards said the parking lot at the Veteran’s complex – which includes two schools and the Board of Education offices – would be reconfigured to make student drop-off safer and more efficient.

To that end, CHA Consulting has been hired to redesign the parking lot and bus drop-off zones between the schools, he said.

CHA would be paid $81,076 for the design phase for the project that would cost $936,985 to complete. Edwards said there was a “significant difference” between redesigning the parking lot and just milling and paving the lot, which would cost $496,591.

This figure does not include the overlay of two teacher’s parking lots and the area in front of the board offices, he added.

Gialanella said he hoped that at least the design part could get done and paid for by the summer.

“We are going to move the islands and reconfigure how buses are staged and find the safest way to get kids on and off the buses,” he said. “None of this is cheap, but if we do it right it will last 50 to 60 years.”

Brick Township High School (Photo courtesy of Daniel Nee, Brick ShoreBeat)

Brick High School Principal William Kleissler said that the track there is in such disrepair that they have not hosted a home track event in 10 years. Areas of the track are coned off for gym classes.

Kleissler was one of six district principals who attended the board meeting to talk about facilities, staff and curriculum needs of their schools.

For example, after the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) academies started at the high schools this year, additional staff is needed for STEM Phase 2, he said.

Each high school needs a robotics teacher (one is currently split between the two high schools), and the district needs an American Sign Language teacher for a course that “students are very excited about,” Kleissler said.

Lake Riviera School Principal Alyce Anderson said that the second floor at the middle school has no air conditioning and is always 20 degrees warmer than the outside air temperature. She brought a slide that showed the previous day’s thermostat there showing 80 degrees when it was 60 degrees outside.

The district’s Director of Technology Robert Bao outlined a three-year technology plan that uses a $500,000 budget to refresh outdated hardware, completes infrastructure upgrades, addresses security/surveillance needs, achieves a one-to-one laptop for students in grades 3 through 12 and more.

Budget presentations would continue at the next Board of Education meeting on April 6 at 7 p.m. at Brick High School. A special budget hearing is planned for April 27 at 7 p.m.