Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy several weeks ago announced that school board elections, including ballot referendum questions in New Jersey, were being moved from the month of April to May 12. In addition, with school buildings being closed due to concerns over social distancing, the elections would be done for the first time in the Garden State’s history, through the mail in the form of vote-by-mail ballots.
In West New York, residents will be deciding the fate of the Board of Education’s school budget tax levy for next year when they fill out their mail in ballots, which must be received no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday by the clerk’s office.
The referendum question on the mail in ballot asks residents if $18,686,109 for the 2020-2021 academic year should be raised for the General Fund.
Board of Education President Adam Parkinson told Hudson TV that “the tax levy represents about a 4 percent increase over last year, but residents will only feel an overall tax increase of about 1 percent, which is how the town factored in the municipal and county portions from their budget.” At least one resident contacted Hudson TV to complain that no explanation was given on the vote-by-mail ballot as to what the $18,686,109 for the General Fund would be used for. When Hudson TV contacted West New York Superintendent of Schools Dr. Clara Brito Herrera for further details, she sent a Messenger response in return, saying, “It’s a school budget question. School budgets support high quality education programs and services for the students.”
The school tax levy for the 2019-2020 academic year stood at $17,919,335.
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