Budget for next year ‘uncertain,’ McCorkell says

By ALEX PETTIT

Video Editor

Attendees of the March 3 Parent Student Faculty Association meeting left with a greater understanding of the upcoming year’s budget cuts, thanks to guest speaker Monmouth County Vocational School District Superintendent Timothy McCorkell.

“There is good news and there is not so good news,” McCorkell said.

The superintendent began his talk with an overview of what Christie is pushing for in this year’s public education budget, citing “a new normal.”

“We believe it is going to allow us next year to do all the things we’re doing this year, but that’s about all it’s going to allow us to do,” said McCorkell in reference to the MCVSD’s budget plan.

The MCVSD’s budget this year is $40.1 million, he said, which is down $2.1 million from the previous year.

The district relies on three main contributors for its budget; the state government, county government and the school districts that send students to the district’s schools. The state’s contribution of $9 million was cut to $6.9 million, but went back up to about $7.4 million after the state’s additional $411,000 contribution this year, he said.

“We thought we would lose more state aid, everyone thought we would,” McCorkell said.

The school district prepared for a cut in state aid, planning to raise tuition costs for the sending school districts. McCorkell affirmed that that was the last thing the district wanted to do. Tuition is projected to remain the same for next year.

In addition to the possibility of raising tuition rates, the district also coped with the change in state budget by making cuts of their own. MCVSD hopes to go into next year with fewer expenditures, relieving some of the burden placed by less state aid.

“There are 19 less people working for the Monmouth County Vocational School District this year than there were a year ago,” McCorkell stated.

This cut in personnel minimally affects CHS. Math teacher Debbie Maher now splits her time between CHS and the Academy of Allied Health and Sciences. AAHS lost one math teacher.

“We had to shrink our budget and that’s why we’re able to go into next year with just a small increase in it,” said McCorkell

As McCorkell proceeded with his speech, he touched on the bad news he alluded to earlier.

“Fifteen years ago we received $2.5 million in Perkins funding, last year we received about $500,000. So you can see how much it’s gone down over time,” said McCorkell.

Perkins funding is money given out by the federal government to colleges and most vocational schools to purchase and maintain equipment. It is also one of two sources that MCVSD relies on for their capital budget, the other being county money for operating costs. The capital budget makes up the money for equipment and infrastructure in the district.

“We are an equipment-laden district,” said McCorkell.

The county gave MCVSD $1 million to share across all 15 of their buildings. This money would be used for such things as new roofs or parking lots, not new technology as it may have in the past, said McCorkell.

Looking ahead, the superintendent said he feels confident about the budget’s abilities for the next year, but is not as sure about the years following.

“When people are unemployed, when there’s, you know, uncertainty, people are not spending.

That means they’re not collecting taxes. People aren’t working, there’s not income coming in. It’s just a vicious cycle,” McCorkell explained.

The situation, he said, is “uncertain.”

 

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