The Wantage Township Committee held
a regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, February 27, 2003, at the
Wantage Municipal Building, 888 Route 23, Wantage, N.J.
Mayor Parrott called the workshop portion of the meeting to order
at 7:00 p.m.
Present: Mayor Jeffrey Parrott, Committeemen Richard Sytsema and
William DeBoer and Administrator James Doherty.
Mayor Parrott announced this meeting is held in compliance with
requirements of the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act and had
been properly advertised. He led those in attendance in the pledge
of allegiance and salute to the flag.
The topic of discussion was the proposed budgets for High Point
Regional High School and Sussex-Wantage Regional School.
Sussex-Wantage Superintendent George Papp said the preliminary proposed
budget for the 2003-2004 school year would be $20,234,006 compared
to $18,838,695 for the current year. Which accounts for an eight
per cent increase but state aid would increase only one-half of
one percent, he said. They have to keep a surplus of three per cent
so none will be available to use. The budget is within the allowable
cap, Mr. Papp continued, with an increase of $155.57 for homes assessed
Mr. Papp gave a history of state aid to the district. The major
areas of increase this year are payroll, benefits, transportation,
repairs and maintenance, and school administration. He noted this
budget has yet to be approved by the board of education. New budget
items anticipated this year are a first grade teacher, autism teacher,
1 _ special education teachers, building and grounds supervisor,
benefits and $75,000 for pre-referendum professional services. The
school board is planning a referendum in September 2004 that would
seek approval for additions to all three school buildings.
Mayor Parrott asked Mr. Papp to provide the township administrator
with the school district’s plan for dealing with terrorism.
Dr. John Hannum, superintendent of High Point Regional stated enrollment
would be increasing by more than 200 students but with less than
a one percent increase in state aid. The school currently has 1,237
students with a student-teacher ratio of 12.2-1. The major increases
in their budget would come from the staggering cost of special education,
he said, as well as the unbelievable cost of health benefits.
The proposed budget for the 2003-2004 school year would be $19,007,806
compared to $17,684,946 for the current year. No teacher retirements
are forecast for June 2003, he said. The Wantage enrollment is increasing
from 647 this year to 731 next year. They anticipate hiring five
additional teachers, five more aides and two bus aides for the increased
enrollment in special education. The total tax levy for Wantage
would be $5,311,146.26 which amounts to an increase of $68 for a
home assessed at $100,000.
Dr. Hannum indicated he, also, would submit the school’s crisis
plan to the township.
The meeting was open to the public for any questions regarding school
Douglas Ricker asked about the emergency response team. Dr. Hannum
said it is a crisis response team for the high school but they could
take a look at someone from the school sitting on the Wantage Emergency
Diane Snure asked about the tax increase and the mayor gave her
the figures for that.
The meeting was closed to the public.
The governing body took a short recess.
Attorney Richard Clark arrived.
The business portion of the meeting was called to order at 8:00
Mayor Parrott stated this meeting is held in compliance with requirements
of the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. He led those in attendance
in the pledge of allegiance and salute to the flag.
The Consent Agenda was presented for consideration. No one asked
for any items to be removed for separate action. Mr. DeBoer made
a motion, seconded by Mr. Sytsema, to approve the Consent Agenda
Upon roll call,
Ayes: DeBoer, Sytsema, Parrott. Nays: None. Abstain: None. Absent: