SECAUCUS – On the eve of tomorrow’s Board of Education election there’s little discussion regarding who will win three coveted seats on the nine-member body. Instead, much of the pre-election talk seems to revolve around whether or not voters will approve the board’s proposed $32 million budget for the 2011-2012 school year.
Unlike in other municipalities, voters in Secaucus have a long history of approving the school budget during the annual Board of Education elections. An education budget hasn’t been rejected in Secaucus in many years, perhaps more than a decade.
But some school board trustees and other political observers have confirmed that residents could vote down the district’s spending plan.
The budget for the 2011-2012 school year includes a 3.3 percent tax increase that would translate to an annual increase of $55 for the average homeowner. Voters have approved other budgets in recent years that also increased taxes, including a 2.5 percent tax increase that was approved last April for the 2010-2011 school year.
But concerns about the school district’s spending priorities could convince a slim majority of residents to vote against the school budget this year. Should this happen, the budget would be sent to the Secaucus Town Council. The council would then work with the Board of Education to revise the budget and make spending cuts.
In addition to voting on the school budget, voters will also be able to select three trustees for the nine-member Secaucus Board of Education. Among those running this year are Lisa Snedeker, Joseph Lewis, Mark Gutmann, and Jules Carricarte. Current board members Eleanore Reinl and Dora Marra are also running for reelection.
The three top vote-getters Wednesday will be sworn in next month and will each serve three years on the board.
Although some municipalities will offer extended hours for their board of education elections tomorrow, polls in Secaucus will be open during the traditional hours of 1 to 9 p.m. – E. Assata Wright