WESTFIELD, NJ -- The budget as well as humiliation, intimidating, and bullying (or HIB) were discussed at the Westfield Board of Education meeting March 19.
Funding mandated programs as well as literacy, technology and STEM programs and maintaining facilities were highlighted in the 2013-2014 budget.
“Our facilities will continue to be top priority,” said board member Dana Sullivan.
The report given by Sullivan explained the breakdown of the state aid given in the 2013-2014 school year budget in comparison to the budget of the 2012-2013 that had only increased by one dollar from $3,828,316 to $3,832,317.
“We get three types of [basic] aid,” said Sullivan, “transportation aid, special education aid and security aid.”
The expansion of the instructional staff was also included in the budget. There was a total increase of 7.6 teachers and instructional staff. There was also an increase in co-curricular activities and athletics from the 2012-2013 budget of $119,559. These increases were to accommodate the extended sports seasons of teams in the high and intermediate schools qualifying for tournaments and finals.
The special revenue fund, which pays for both local and non-public services, projections had seemingly decreased from this year’s budget, but the numbers will increase upon receiving grants throughout the year.
“Special revenue increases the budget, but not the tax,” said board member Rosanne Kurstedt, “because it comes from grants.”
The final 2013-2014 budget will be adopted at a public hearing on March 21 at the Westfield High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m.
The Violence, Vandalism, HIB and Substance Abuse report was also given at the board meeting. This was the second of the twice-a-year state mandated reports. In all categories the reported incidents had decreased from the last half to the 7/1/12 to 12/31/12 report discussed, except for written and physical harassment, intimidation and/or bullying, which remained consistent at one reported incident.
Anti-bullying Coordinator Joseph Manlanga spoke about his meetings with the anti-bullying specialists from each school in the district as well as attending meetings with fellow coordinators from all over Union County.
“I’m constantly reviewing programs that promote anti-bullying,” said Manlanga.
Manlanga also discussed a climate survey that will survey randomly selected staff, students and parents.
Manlanga also reported receiving a four-point rubric from the state for a school self-assessment for HIB. The average total scores from all the schools in the district must be reported on the district’s homepage. The deadline to submit the self-assessment is Aug. 15 and grades will be released in the fall of 2013.
“We have to make sure we are constantly working to make sure students are treated correctly,” said superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan.