The Morris School District Board of Education will hold a public hearing for the district’s 2013-14 budget on March 21.
Multiple members noted during the board’s meeting Feb. 11 that the public hearing will occur the same night as the Morristown High School Project Graduation Dinner and Fashion Show, leading to discussion of possibly changing the date.
The state Department of Education mandates that districts must have their budget hearings between March 21 and March 28.
However, the district’s spring break takes place the week of March 25. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra advised against moving the presentation to that week because many families might be out of town. Board members also agreed that a Friday night meeting would not be well-attended.
This will be the first year residents will not vote on the budget after the board elected in January to move school elections to November and eliminate a public vote on the budget. Inherent in that move, one that many districts made after being encouraged by Gov. Chris Christie, is that school budgets will not require a public vote as long as they fall within the state-mandated 2 percent spending increase cap.
“Because it’s the budget presentation and it’s the first year we’re not allowing the public to vote, we don’t want to do it at a time that may give the impression we didn’t want people to come,” Board President Nancy Bangiola said.
The public hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. – the same time the Project Graduation Dinner begins – on March 21 at the Lafayette Learning Center. Many board members said they will be going over to the dinner after the public hearing.