New budget numbers for Bridgewater

Last night the Superintendent presented the district's 2011-2012 budget. You can download it for yourself here. According to a friend who was at the meeting, the Patch did an accurate job covering what was said. You can read it here. The Courier hasn't published its account yet (I assume it will). The Messenger (nj.com) hasn't posted anything yet either - again, I assume they will soon.

Without knowing the outcome of the union negotiations (contracts are up in June) I'm afraid to take a realistic look at the costs as payroll is the largest component of the budget.  Does the right hand know what the left hand is doing in these guesstimates? Apparently no one asked last night and I didn't have the opportunity to go.

I wish the District were shopping around for cheaper healthcare. Healthcare is important, and the Superintendent has a point, but many companies' healthcare costs increased 30% and made changes. We downgraded from a Cadillac plan - with power steering - to a Hyundai - with higher at-pump prices (co-pays) to boot. It's the way the economy is...

Mr. Brookner's right too - the district needs some capital improvements. One of my daughter's Middle School classrooms had a pipe burst months ago, and there is still exposed tile with dust of an unknown nature (at least to me... I hope it's not asbestos but I don't dare ask if they've checked!). Kids have been told not to touch it and that it should be fixed during Spring Break but I don't like her breathing in that air every day. What is going on that I don't know about?

Then there is the other elephant in the room: can we keep our academic programs in tact if the budget fails? Maybe I missed the "doomsday slide 2012" if they presented it. On this sunny March morning, I simply can't worry about it. I've had enough worries this week.

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