Information regarding vote on school funding

A letter from Robert O. Strobel, President, West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education
November 1, 2016

Dear West Morris Regional High School Community:

Please remember to vote on November 8.  The ballot includes the following question put to the voters by the West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education:

“Shall the West Morris Regional High School District’s annual and special appropriations be apportioned on the following basis:  50% on each municipality’s equalized valuation allocated to the West Morris Regional High School District as provided by state law and 50% on the proportioned number of pupils enrolled from each municipality on the 15th day of October of the pre-budget year?”

If approved, this would change the funding of annual and special appropriations (more simply put, the District’s budget) from the current formula based 100% on each municipality’s equalized valuation.

The attached presentation, which is also available on the District website, is provided to inform your decision.  Most of it is self-explanatory, however, a couple of items may benefit from further discussion.

Some basic background provides context for the ballot question.  5 municipalities participate in the two high school District.  With only a few exceptions, West Morris Mendham High School is dedicated to the Chesters and Mendhams, which in the current year send 51.2% of the Districts’ students and pay 65.95% of the taxes necessary to run the District.   Likewise with few exceptions, West Morris Central High School is dedicated to Washington Township, which in the current year sends 48.8% of the Districts’ students and pays 34.05% of the taxes necessary to run the District.

The current 100% equalized value formula was mandated by a state law adopted in 1975.  Prior to that, and dating back to the District’s formation in 1958, the district’s budget was funded based 100% on the proportioned number of pupils enrolled from each municipality.

Pages 9-12 of the presentation contain charts that will give you a qualitative view of the potential tax impact of changing the funding formula.  They should not be viewed as providing a statement as to what you will actually pay.  This is because your actual taxes will depend on three variables that we can not predict with certainty: (1) number of students; (2) equalized property values and (3) district spending.  For this reason, the charts only provide the dollar impact for prior years, for which each of the variables is known.  These prior year charts show what would have happened if the new formula had been applied in those years.

Looking forward to years 2017-2020, the charts only provide the percentage of district funding (“% Regional Tax” in the last column) that might be paid by each municipality if the number of students currently in each of the sending K-8 districts arrive at the high school in exactly the same percentages as currently exists in the 5th through 8th grades. The actual numbers may be close, but it is highly unlikely they will be exactly the same.  As a result, the calculation of each town’s % Regional Tax should be viewed as illustrative and not absolute.

The best way to look at the charts for years 2017-2020 is to compare your town’s % Regional Tax  for the Current Formula of 100% Equalized Value in the top chart on page 7 of the attachment to future years % Regional Tax.  Assuming (1) the 5th through 8th grade student populations accurately predict the percentage of student from each town in the high school in a given year, (2) equalized property values hold steady and (3) the district’s spending is unchanged, in any year in which your town’s % Regional Tax is greater than its 2016 % Regional Tax, you will pay more tax than you will in 2016.  Likewise, in any year in which your town’s % Regional Tax is less than its 2016 % Regional Tax, you will pay less tax than you will in 2016.

The funding formula has been a source of controversy for many years, however, the Board takes no position on the ballot question other than to urge you to please vote on November 8.

Sincerely,

Robert O. Strobel, President

West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education

Click here to view the presentation.

Annual Tax Reassessment

Please be advised that the Borough’s Annual Tax Reassessment is currently taking place.  This will effect approximately 25% of the Borough’s properties. Over the next few weeks an inspector may be visiting to inspect your property.    These individuals will be able to provide valid identification.  Thank you.

Passing of DPW Chief Brian Olson

It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely passing of the Borough Department of Public Works Superintendent Brian Olson.  Words cannot express the loss that the Borough staff is experiencing.

Obituary

Brian S. Olson, age 45, of Washington, New Jersey, died unexpectedly on Monday, October 17, 2016 at home in Washington.  Brian was born September 29, 1971 in Valley Stream, NY, moving to Mansfield, NJ in 1976. Brian graduated from Warren Hills High School in 1990. Brian led a full life volunteering as a fireman and ultimately became Chief of the Tri-County Firehouse in Mansfield, NJ.  He was the Superintendent of Public Works in Chester, NJ.

A celebration of Brian’s Life will be held at 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Tri County Fire Department, 1720 Route 57, Mansfield Township, NJ. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:  Fallen Fire Fighters Widow Fund, P.O. Box 498, Emmitsburg, MD 21727 or to Susan Olson, c/o Cochran Funeral Home in memory of Brian.

The full obituary from Cochran Funeral Home is posted here.

olson

JCP&L Storm Preparedness Update

Please read this information from JCP&L:

  • Tropical Storm Hermine UpdateJersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is closely monitoring the developing weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Hermine.  JCP&L is prepared to activate its storm response plan and Incident Command System structure. Should Hermine impact JCP&L’s service area, the company is prepared to: 

    ·        Bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel 

    ·        Staff additional dispatchers and analysts at regional dispatch offices

    ·        Move resources to impacted areas 

    ·        Hold update calls with officials 

    ·        Secure additional hazard responders 

    ·        Arrange staging sites for crews if necessary 

    The company is also reinforcing substations in flood prone areas with protective devices and ensuring that all locations have sufficient equipment and fuel available. 

    In the event outages occur, customers without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage, or click the “Report Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com.  In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility, or call their local police or fire department. 

    JCP&L reminds customers to stay away from downed wires, even if they believe they are no longer carrying electricity.  Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled with trees or other debris.  Motorists are cautioned to treat intersections with inoperable traffic signals as four-way stops. 

    JCP&L customers can also subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive weather updates in advance of major storms and updates on scheduled or extended power outages.  Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts and make other inquiries about their accounts.  More information about these communication tools is available online atwww.firstenergycorp.com/connect. 

    Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com. 

Morris County Veterans’ Services available

Sabrina Baarda, the new Social Worker in the Veterans Services Office serving Morris County, will be working with Ken Brenzel, the Veterans Services Officer, on connecting Morris County Veterans and their families with the resources and services they need and are entitled to.  If you know a resident in your community who may benefit from these services, please encourage them reach out to their office.

 

Contact info:

Sabrina Baarda, BSW

Veterans Services Office

Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance

340 W. Hanover Ave.

Morris Township, NJ 07960

(973) 285-6866

(973) 285-6456 fax