VINELAND - School board member Brian DeWinne has proposed balancing the school budget using anticipated surpluses and spending cuts that would eliminate the need to cut jobs or programs.
The district has proposed cutting 82 jobs and the adult education program to balance the $190 million spending plan.
"My proposal would leave everything intact," DeWinne said Friday.
DeWinne, a certified public accountant, declined to provide specifics because other school board members have not responded to the proposal he said he sent them more than a week ago.
"I really don't want to disclose the details until I hear back from them," DeWinne said.
However, he pointed to the $25 million the district accrued in surpluses over the past two years and believes it is likely the surpluses would happen again.
Superintendent Maryann Banks refused to discuss DeWinne's proposal.
"It would be totally inappropriate for me to speak with you about this," Banks told a reporter who asked for her opinion on DeWinne's proposal. When asked why it was inappropriate, she said, "Because the budget that we passed is the budget we'll be following."
This year, Vineland is to get about $9 million less in state funding, and lost another $13 million when Gov. Chris Christie took districts' ‘excess surplus' over 2 percent of the total budget, which school board members said prompted the need for cuts.
School board members then used $12 million of remaining surplus to balance the budget and keep the tax rate at $1.037 per $100 of assessed value. That would bring the district's projected surplus to $640,464, district financial documents show.
The staff and program cuts have drawn criticism from some. School board candidate and former board president Eugene Medio questioned board members' priorities in hiring a new assistant superintendent while proposing rank-and-file cuts and expressed incredulity that the district accrued a $25 million surplus in less than two years.
DeWinne was less incredulous. Instead, he expects something like it to happen again.
"If we're plugging a shortfall in aid this year with a $12 million surplus," DeWinne said, "history will tell you there will be (another) surplus."
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