LACEY TOWNSHIP - The township's government Thursday night approved every cent of the school budget that voters rejected last month.
The move came a day after teachers voted to take a one-year pay freeze, allowing the district to cancel 30 planned layoffs, including 16 teachers.
Several members of the Township Committee publicly thanked the teachers for the concession.
The $38.4 million budget leaves the tax rate the same as last year: 93 cents per $100 of property value. Residents voted 2,568-2,282 against the budget April 20.
The school district this year lost 14 percent of its state aid, or $3.2 million.
In addition to 16 teachers, six office workers, six custodians and two bus drivers had been scheduled to lose their jobs June 30. All will remain employed.
Superintendent Richard Starodub said he was pleased the township recognized the quality of the original budget and the narrow margin of its defeat.
"It's as restrictive as we can be," Starodub said of the budget.
The school board had presented to voters a budget that would keep all 692 workers employed and keep the tax rate steady, assuming all employees agreed to a pay freeze. The teachers union had not agreed to this by election day, though negotiations with the board were in progress.
Starodub said he believes the budget would have passed if the teachers had taken the salary freeze before election day.
"Lacey's been very supportive (of school budgets), even in years where there's been a tax increase," said Starodub, who noted Gov. Chris Christie's campaign against school budgets that lacked salary freezes for teachers. "I think it was an unusual year."
Wednesday's union vote came after members recalled their president, Mark Iannini, and selected Michael Shern as his temporary replacement.