Dan Harris

The April 25, 2024,  Board meeting was one of the more consequential meetings of the year. The biggest news was the Open Public Finance Meeting where the district presented the budget to the public in PowerPoint format. Foremost, as previewed last month, this year’s school district budget is historic because it achieves two significant things—first, we are finally receiving our fair share of School Aid from Trenton. The reasons are long and complicated, but it is important to know that our students and staff are receiving what other districts have long benefitted from. Consequently, since much of the burden to fund our schools has fallen on our local taxpayers, the ramped-up infusion of State support has alleviated that unequal burden. Secondly, for the first time beginning in July, the district will be spending at "adequacy", a state Department of Education metric for what districts should be spending on its students.

On the revenue side of the budget, the district now has a predictable baseline of State Aid from which to plan going forward. On the spending side, our budget will continue to responsibly provide competitive teacher salaries, continually update the curriculum to keep our students competitive and prepared for higher education and the workforce, and provide support services such as special education specialists and extracurricular activities that help our students grow as citizens, artists, athletes and more. The budget’s biggest highlight is extending a high-impact tutoring program to help students in need of extra attention in core subjects like math and language arts. The budget maintains current security protocols and invests additional funding in capital maintenance such as building systems, painting, paving, and other necessary cosmetic upgrades.

I would be remiss if I did not point out the unique feature of this year’s budget—a tax levy cut. While it’s a modest $13 cut for the average household, it represents decades of learning to live within our means. Our Business Administrator’s Office, led by our administrator Brian Wolferman, learned to make do without the proper School Aid allotment, finding efficiencies where possible and controlling spending. The board budgeted prudently and found itself with an opportunity to use a portion of its budget surplus to pay down debt. In the end, the school portion of your tax levy will be reduced for the first time in recent memory.

A copy of the PowerPoint presentation is available on the district’s website and a video copy of the April 25 meeting can be found on Woodbridge Channels’ various platforms. The Board will vote on final adoption on Thursday, May 2.

The April Board meeting also included the passage of the 2024-2025 Student Calendar. Please check the district website and mark your calendars accordingly. For school referendum voters, the Board received word that construction bids for the massive renovation of the Avenel Street Elementary School #4/5 are due on Thursday, May 9. Construction should commence this summer.

The Presidents’ Council of Woodbridge Township is once again hosting the Board on May 8 for the annual Spring Parent Meeting. Parents, be sure to sign up to receive the Zoom link at PresidentsCouncilWB@gmail.com. Hear from the Board members and Superintendent on the latest happenings around the district and other news affecting our kids.

Kindergarten registration for the 2024-2025 school year remains open. The online application process is open on our district website at www.Woodbridge.K12.nj.us/page/student-registration. The district encourages families to register as soon as possible so we may accurately account for staff needs and class sizes. In an attempt to limit first-year class sizes for the benefit of student learning and retention, the district has implemented a new priority registration criteria which can be found on the registration page. Finally, we ask for your patience as applications take time to thoroughly vet each application for accuracy and proper residency.

The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Thursday, May 16 at 6:00 p.m. The Board meets in the gymnasium of the Ross Street Elementary School #11, 110 Ross Street, Woodbridge. The public portion of the meeting will promptly begin following the conclusion of the Executive Session. As always, you can view the live feed of the meeting on the district’s Facebook page or Woodbridge Channels YouTube channel. The yearly Board meeting calendar is as follows: June 13; July 18; August 15 and 29; September 26; October 17; November 21; and December 19.

Should you ever require my assistance, I welcome your input at one of our monthly Board of Education meetings. You can also e-mail the full board at board@woodbridge.k12.nj.us or call the Board Secretary’s office at 732-602-8536. As always, Dr.Massimino welcomes any questions at Joseph.Massimino@woodbridge.K12.nj.us.