Superintendent’s Letter on Preschool & District Office Plans

The following letter (link here) was received via email today from the Superintendent of Teaneck Schools, Dr. Irving:

Dear Teaneck Community,

On Wednesday, August 21, our Board of Education approved two resolutions that are essential to moving this district forward for our children and this community.

The first resolution solidifies our commitment to the expansion of preschool education Continue reading “Superintendent’s Letter on Preschool & District Office Plans”

Teaneck BOE by the numbers

A post on the Teaneck Today Facebook group (join here), references the recent record article on how much school districts in NJ spend per student.

The Record article quotes the amounts listed in the State’s Taxpayers’ Guide to Education Spending 2019.  According to that report, we spend $27,670 per pupil.

But this is only part of the story.

Our expenses don’t go up or down based on the number of individual students, but they do flow with aggregates.  Lose a few students one year and there’s likely very little change in expenses.  Same with gaining a few.  That’s why the independent report from the Board of Ed on the impacts of development don’t show more than a nominal increase based on new residents.  They simply don’t increase any particular class size beyond the point where a new teacher would be necessary.  Costs may be phrased in the “per pupil” equation, but they need to be contextualized to be properly understood.

Some of those commenting, have pointed out that not all students have the same “per pupil cost” and that there’s a mismatch in the number of kids attending public vs. private schools.  This is accurate, but without more information, it’s not very helpful.

So let’s find a place to start….

Here are our numbers:

Documentation:
Teaneck BOE Comprehensive Annual Financial Report “CAFR” (2018)
Teaneck Special Education Study (2018)

How many students do we have?

To determine the number of students, we need only look at page 2 of the CAFR:

We have 3,953  students enrolled across our district for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

I used 2016-17 as opposed to the 2017-18 CAFT number of 3,971 so this can be compared to the special education report that covers the same time period.  This number includes charter school students that reside in town, but excludes enrollments for in-district preschool and non-public school students.

How many students are in general vs special education instruction?

This number can be found in the Special Education report on page 26 (Table 4):

We have 3,611 students in the district, of which 1.035 are classified as having a disability.

How much do we spend on general and special education instruction?

For this info, we need to look at page 22 of the CAFR:

What is the per pupil cost for instruction?

If we take the cost for Regular Instruction ($49,686,728) and divide by the total enrollment, less those classified as special education (2,576), we get a spend per pupil of $19,288.33

If we take the cost for Special Education Instruction ($25,491,773) and divide by the total classified as special education, we get a spend per pupil of $24,629.73

While this still doesn’t tell the entire story, it says a bit more than the records simple use of $27,670.

Other costs

Clearly, this only deals with the costs of instruction, which, while a large share of the total budget, is not the complete picture.  There are capital and fixed costs for everything from repairs, to heat, to…. you name it.  The BOE covers a lot of spending.  But instruction is a good place to start a discussion on comparative spending.

How do other towns compare?

That’s a post for another day.  If you have the ability and want to show your work, I’d be happy to post your information.

 

Ethics complaint filed against Teaneck Board of Education President

Today, June 19th, the State of NJ School Ethics Commission indicates that it will review the complaint in case #C75-18, Pagan v. Ardie Walser.

Ethics Complaint filed against Teaneck Board of Education President.

You can view the complaint here: Complaint against Ardie Walser, President of the Teaneck Board of Education

President Walser moved to dismiss the complaint, as frivolous and requested sanctions.  The Ethics Commission received responses from the parties on the motion and issued it’s ruling on May 3rd.

Decision of the Ethics Commision

The Decision of the State Ethics Commission indicates that they denied the motion (to dismiss the complaint as frivolous) and denied any requests for sanctions..

Based on the foregoing, and in reviewing the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party (Complainant), the Commission voted to deny the Motion to Dismiss in its entirety.  Notwithstanding this determination, the Commission notes that, because the Complainant agreed to voluntarily withdraw all allegations against Respondent Arjumand, Respondent Walser is the only remaining Respondent.  The Commission also voted to find that the Complaint is not frivolous, and to deny Respondents’ request for sanctions.

Continue reading “Ethics complaint filed against Teaneck Board of Education President”

Teaneck BOE: Independent Demographic Study of Impact of New Development

The Teaneck Board of Education hired Whitehall Associates, Inc. to conduct an independent analysis of the effects of new development on the Teaneck Schools.  The analysis (available below) projects enrollment based on particular projects and to the overall school system through the 2023-24 school year.  Some of the numbers are projections (as the pre-k and K classes haven’t been born yet), but the rest are based on trends and the scientific methodology is outlined in the report and consistent with NJDOE practices.

From the Report:

  • Whitehall Associates, Inc. is considered a qualified demographer by the New Jersey Department of Education
  • Whitehall Associates, Inc. states that the demographic report it prepared for the Teaneck Board of Education was prepared in
    compliance with the appropriate law and administrative code.
  • Bernard Piaia, at the NJDOE Office of School Facilities, has agreed to accept this report for review and consideration, if it is submitted in its complete final form, with an original signature, along with the NJDOE cohort survival worksheets for the Long Range Facility Plan.\
  • The original of this report is on electronic file at the offices of Whitehall Associates, In c. and is available for examination by the appropriate
    authorities.
  • Whitehall Associates was retained by the Teaneck Board of Education to prepare a demographic study for the Teaneck Public School District. The information in this demographic report is suitable for inclusion in any document to be forwarded to the New Jersey Department of Education for matters concerning school facilities.

 

For those that want the bottom line up front:  The Teaneck school enrollment number for total students in 2018-19 is currently 3,504 students.

In 2023-24, that number is projected to be 3,599 students.  An increase of 95 students across 13 grades.


The Independent Demographic Analysis Report

(comments in blue appear in the report itself) Continue reading “Teaneck BOE: Independent Demographic Study of Impact of New Development”

Questions abound with Board of Education Pre-K program

We have received questions from residents regarding several recent actions taken by the Board of Education. This post will focus on the lease of Christ Church by the Township for its pre-k program.

At the last regular Board of Education meeting of 2018, the Board approved item #19 on the agenda:

Excerpt from Dec. 12, 2018 Board of Ed agenda

Teaneck Today has confirmed that this approval, for a lease to rent the Christ Church for use as a pre-school was done without the Board of Education trustees having seen any lease documents.

In fact, based on an Open Public Records Act request sent to us from a resident, it appears that there is no lease in place to use the facility, at all. Continue reading “Questions abound with Board of Education Pre-K program”