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School District Plans Bus Purchases Using Bennett Bubble Funds

Enterprise funds raised at the indoor athletic complex will go toward purchasing six mini buses

Funds raised by the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex will be put toward purchasing new buses for Toms River schools. 

About $1.2 million is in the district's enterprise fund, money raised through the operation of the "Bennett Bubble" at Intermediate East. Six mini buses will be purchased from that fund at a total cost of $394,000, according to the district. 

"I think one of the great things about these enterprise funds is when you can purchase something that's directly relevant to the running of this school district," said schools Business Administrator William Doering at a district budget and finance committee meeting this week. "People see the connection between having these funds and using them for something that you'd otherwise be paying as a taxpayer."

The buses will be purchased through the Middlesex County educational cooperative, a statewide system that Doering said offered the best pricing at about $65,000 each.   

Utilizing enterprise funds is "basically tax relief," said school board member Mike Jedziniak. "It's avoiding cost."

"The bottom line is the taxpayer is benefiting from the enterprise fund," said school board member Joseph Torrone. 

"We think it's not only an appropriate use of those retained earnings but also an efficient use," Doering said. 

The buses are part of an ongoing replacement program designed to ensure that the district isn't faced with a large-scale bus replacement all at once. 

"I want to make clear that this just isn't coming out of nowhere," Doering said. "We have to continue to cycle our buses or we're going to get to a point where we need to replace them in one year and that's going to devastate us."

Enterprise funds were used two years ago, when $500,000 was put toward bus purchases, according to the district. The district also has another $800,000 in enterprise funds raised from the Pine Belt Arena at the High School North campus. 

The district currently uses private contractors for some of its routes requiring mini buses. Another "huge benefit" to the purchase is that those routes can potentially be operated in-house. 

"Once we have the appropriate replacements, we're going to be in better shape to take on more of these types of routes," Doering said. 

The district also discussed preparations to enter into a $121,000 contract for the purchase of Konica copiers for seven buildings — six schools and the central office. That purchase was included in the district's budget and is unrelated to the enterprise funds. 

JD February 15, 2013 at 03:06 PM
The purchase of these items should be delayed until after the 13/14 budget has been determined. Do they realized there is probably going to be a $15million shortfall in tax revenue next year? Talk about fiscally irresponsible.
Cosma February 15, 2013 at 03:24 PM
I here that Sue ..... these kis get plenty in this town.... how about what the adults NEED!
Josef Kramer February 15, 2013 at 03:41 PM
A whole 14 dollars wow that's a real bank breaker there
S. Bar February 15, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Everyone better start understanding that we need to CUT spending now more than ever.
Ken February 15, 2013 at 04:11 PM
silvertonmom...it is not just the bubble, they make you pay to watch most sports even though we pay taxes for that as well.
ortleysmellslikebunker February 15, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Amanda February 15, 2013 at 09:12 PM
As a former toms river athlete, my parents had to pay to watch me at games as well. Additionally, students pay to attend games for their friends. Being as it was (I don't know how much it is any more) a few dollars each person, it affects those willing to go to see children's games/matches. How would it be fair for other towns' residents to come and have to pay to enter, say, the Bennett Complex when many are using it just as much as we are considering it is where MANY track meets are held in this area. If we did not have these arenas, we would have to go and not only pay when we see games, but also pay for a contract for our teams to attend events there. Additionally how about all the tolls as gas we would be using to drive up to god knows where? As for $14, it doesn't seem to me that this is a budget buster. Considering all of the equipment needed for sports, it pales in comparison. How about parents who cannot afford their children playing sports that they may love? Or the parents that work overtime and miss these events? Keep these in mind next time you have the joy of watching your child compete.
Amanda February 15, 2013 at 09:13 PM
I think we are very lucky to not have to worry about frequent tax hikes in order to replace all of our buses that are breaking down. I remember how often our bus would have break issues, the windows, , seatbelts wouldn't work correctly. This is something the children in town desperately need, and we should be proud to be able to provide for them through these buildings' revenues instead of our pockets. These buildings are an investment for our children, and will be beneficial in many different ways.
joe jones February 15, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Remember we still have one of the lowest tax rates in the state. We need many more items but the guses are used mainly for our special education students. Want them to walk you idiots. How about a one time hike and get the technology needed? But no we can afford video games for the kiddies and toys for Christmas that are probably already broken but not for schools. Grow up. Move go back up north and see what the taxes are.
Mitch Mitchell February 15, 2013 at 09:52 PM
If they are making all this money . how about pacing the lolt!
Mitch Mitchell February 15, 2013 at 09:54 PM
haste makes waste, that's paving the lot
silvertonmom February 15, 2013 at 10:33 PM
not a bank breaker josef just a question...why should i have to pay twice for the bubble!
silvertonmom February 15, 2013 at 10:34 PM
don't have to pay when they run at the park in lakewood...don't have to pay when they run at home on the track...
silvertonmom February 15, 2013 at 10:38 PM
there's probably many parents who can't afford to watch their children compete in HS sports...that's a shame since they already pay taxes why should they have to pay admission for any sport for that matter...our school taxes are extremely high in toms river...should cover sports!!!
NJJA February 16, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Most of the time it is probably not the schools itself charging for the event but rather the people running the event NJSIAA etc.
Scott Derek February 16, 2013 at 04:15 AM
Didn't the district just purchase some new mini buses at the beginning of the school year(I think they are numbered 230-237)? I've seen some regular passenger school buses(I think #160s-170s are now going on 16 years old) that need either replacement or some TLC(rusted out side panels, unbolted bumpers, etc.).
Amanda February 16, 2013 at 06:17 AM
@silvertonmom I highly doubt any parent is able to afford expensive sports equipment but somehow unable to afford the astronomical amount of $14 to attend sporting events. Get real.
Amanda February 16, 2013 at 06:19 AM
@joe jones Thank you!!! Our kids deserve the best. Taxpayers should be glad there aren't hikes instead of free sporting events like @silvertonmom suggested
Irina February 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Did they recoup all the funds confiscated from Ritacco yet? That would buy allot too "for the kids".
jerseytomato February 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM
We may have 'had' one of the lowes tax rates in the state, but that's about to change. Due to the devistation of Sandy, tax revenues are down. The already projected 'loss' is staggering. The tax hikes that we will soon receive - with will surely affect us all. Families who were barely hanging on 'pre-Sandy' will now be forced out, driving tax revenues yet even higher. While the purchase of new school buses will certainly create jobs, the additional payroll, insurance, maintanance and eventually pensions - will come out of the taxpayers pocket. Parents of the children who will benefit from the small buses, already receive social security comensation, along with many other benefits for their children. Why not drive their own children to school?
jerseytomato February 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Amanda, you can be sure - your tax hike is coming. Right along with the rest of us.
jerseytomato February 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Whomever is in charge of purchasing apparently has zero negotiating skills.
Krtr February 16, 2013 at 02:00 PM
silvertonmom~ You do realize if the Bennett Bubble was not there you would be driving to Princeton or New York indoor track facilities? Look how many people it takes to run a track event smoothly, a starter, a clerk, sometimes 6 timers, then few people at the high jump, long jump and shot put. Ask those parents who drove to the indoor meets out of town how they would feel to pay $14 to watch their kids in their own town. Plus, officials need to be paid. Putting all extracurricular expenses in the total school budget would only increase the budget. Charging admission offsets the expense of extracurricular activities.
Tired of the status quo February 16, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Hey Silverton Mom, How about we get back to the REAL reason why we send kids to school! I know in Toms River it is for sports but, the last time I looked I thought it was so these kids could learn how to read, write, and do arithmetic. But, looking at the SAT scores in this district I see that my thought about that is wrong! I see that the only thing that matters in this district is the sports programs. Here we have people who are having a hard time wondering how they are going to pay to either repair or replace or in somecases raise their home that were destroyed or damaged from Super Storm Sandy. Then you have the people who are just barely holding onto their homes because this Township and School District think that they can just spend money like there is an unlimited amount to be had. Here we have our Mayor, Council, Business Administator(from both the town and school district) and School Board telling us that they are going to have "to make very tough decisions" with the up coming budgets due to the fact that neither the town or the district know what kind of State Aid they are going to recieve and the fact that the are losing tax revenue due to MANY tax appeals and the storm. So here we go again instead of holding off on spending they just spend spend spend. Oh, and Silverton Mom, how about we assess a fee to each parent of a child who participates in club or a sport to help pay for the coach or moderator as we as taxpayers are paying twice for these people.
DAVE 865 February 16, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Jerseytomato, the article states that this purchase is a part of a replacement program. Buy a few at a time, so that one day you aren't socked with having to make a large purchase.
DAVE 865 February 16, 2013 at 04:06 PM
230-237 were new in September, 2011, last school year, and there were no new buses of any kind this year. Ladies and gentlemen, these mini buses being discussed are for the handicapped, or "special needs" children, these buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts so that wheelchair bounds can get to school, children with walkers, too can have access, and no, these 6 buses will not create more jobs. Scott, as for the big, older buses, don't you think they would like to replace those, just read these comments, nobody wants to pay for anything. Since Sandy blew through, I truly understand what everyone is saying, but somethings need to be done. This is why they want to buy in small numbers, buy 6 this year, 6 next year, 6 the year after, then when you needed to buy 20, all you need is to get are 2.
joe jones February 16, 2013 at 09:01 PM
so jersey tomato , you seem to be a rotten tomato. Not eveyone with a child with special needs get government assistance. why don't you and your kids move to a different town if you are so unhappy or give up your kids seat on the buses and get off your lazy butt and drive your kids to school. What do you for the town except "pay taxes"? Complaining people like you disgust me.
grace February 16, 2013 at 11:58 PM
they put a bathroom inthere yet?
jerseytomato February 18, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Mr. jones - as taxpayers, we are all allowed our individual opinions. While you may not agree, we are entitled none the less. Especially when it comes to how our tax dollars are spent, and what - or whom - they are spent on. You would do well to avoid personal attacks and embody a more appropriate form of verbage when it comes to expressing yourself.
Charles Henry February 18, 2013 at 05:32 PM
You want to save money ? Give computers to the kids and teach them at home via the Internet in real time. People have been getting their masters degree online why not high school diplomas. No transportation costs, no heating or electric bills,no security.discontinue pre kindergarten,and use that money to guarantee associates degrees at community college. Two years after 12 grade would be much more effective than 2years pre k


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