School Budget Season Approaching In Brick

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

BRICK – As budget season approaches, acting superintendent of schools Dennis Filippone gave an overview of the process that would be used to formulate the 2018-2019 school year budget.

“We don’t have any numbers because the state aid amount won’t be coming out until mid-March, but we’re making an attempt to let the public know the process for developing the budget,” said Filippone during the Feb. 8 Board of Education meeting.

School Facilities Director William Kolibas discusses the ongoing budget process. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

The school district has a lot of wants and needs, which have to be separated based upon visions, goals and projected enrollment, he said.

In November and December 2017, program managers, including school principals and the  administration, began the budget-building process by using enrollment projections and by reviewing staffing accounts.

In January and February 2018, program managers held some 20 meetings with the superintendent and business administrator to review each budget, and the resulting overview was presented during the February Board of Education meeting.

During the March and April 2018 Board of Education meetings, “Budget-Building 1 and 2” would be presented on transportation, facilities, human resources, principals, technology and curriculum/instruction. Afterwards, one or two board members would meet to review, comment and ask questions before a public hearing is held, and the budget is adopted.

Filippone said the budget presentations would be “a difficult process.”

Acting Superintendent Dennis Filippone discusses the ongoing budget process. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

During the Budget-Building process, committee reports would be delivered by school professionals because “they would be front and center,” Filippone said.

School Facilities Director William Kolibas gave an overview of recently completed facilities projects, ongoing repairs and improvements, and projects on the “needs” list for the 2018-2019 school budget.

Some of the “need” items include solar panel repair at Emma Havens Young Elementary School, lintel repair at Lake Riviera Middle School, redoing the stage floors at both high schools, HVAC replacement at Veterans Elementary, Veterans Middle School and Brick High School auditorium.

Kolibas said that survey work is ongoing for the replacement of Drum Point Elementary

School, phase two of parking lot improvements at the Veterans Complex, various concrete and asphalt repair at numerous schools, and more.

Director of Curriculum Susan McNamara said that chronic absenteeism is a problem in the district and an administrative team had met during the summer to try to address the issue. She said there would be a curriculum presentation during the March Board of Education meeting.

School Business Administrator James Edwards there would be a request for proposals from firms for an operational budget audit in the 2018-2019 budget.

Edwards said a proposed wellness clinic for school employees could save on medical costs to the district by providing services to employees and their dependents.

Director of Human Resources Sean Cranston said he would be presenting a budget that includes budget adjustments for retirements, substitute teachers, coaches, and much more.

Superintendent Interviews

In other news, Filippone said that the initial round of interviews for a permanent superintendent has been completed, and there are five candidates remaining.

“We believe we’ll have a good candidate by the April meeting,” he said.

The next Board of Education meeting will be on Thursday, March 8 when “Budget Building 1” will be presented.

“Budget Building 2” is planned for the April 12 Board of Education meeting, and if the state aid numbers are announced by mid-March, a public hearing on the budget is planned for Thursday, April 26.

All meetings will be at 7 p.m in the Brick Professional Development Center (BPDC), located adjacent to the central administration offices at the Veterans Complex on Hendrickson Avenue.