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Toms River Investigating Whether to Move April School Election to November

Superintendent says board counsel being consulted, while Business Administrator says $100,000 could be saved in election costs

According to legislation signed by Gov. Chris Christie last week, school board elections normally could be moved to coincide with the general elections . Either a school board or municipality can vote to make the switch, or voters can petition the municipality for a referendum on the prospect.

Toms River Regional School District did not use its regular meeting last week to vote on the matter, and instead will use the weeks ahead to investigate the measure's impact, said Superintendent Frank Roselli.

The legislation also states that if a school district is able to keep its proposed budget under the state-mandated 2 percent hard cap it would not have to put it up for a vote by the public.

Business Administrator Bill Doering also confirmed the district has begun discussing whether to move elections to November.

"The board began discussions and will have further discussions regarding the BOE election bill. I understand several districts have already approved moving the election to November, and several more will vote on it next week,"  Doering said.

The issue came up briefly during the executive session of the school board at its Tuesday meeting, but aside from committee meetings held in early February, the next school board public meeting will be Feb. 21.

However, Doering said the impact of a November election, which would bind the district to create a budget that grows less than 2 percent year over year, would aid in the school district's longterm planning.

"If the election is moved and there is no longer a vote on a budget under cap, that will help with longterm planning and financial stability," Doering said.

In the current format, all budgets go before the voters and risk being rejected. By allowing districts to move forward on budgets without voters, the budget would have to clear the school board members' votes only. Public hearings would still be held on the school budget.

Doering said the move to November would save approximately $100,000 in election costs, too.  

However, it's premature to say what will happen in Toms River Regional. "As I said, the board will have further discussions regarding the BOE election bill before a decision is made," Doering said.

Roselli said the district is doing its "due diligence" now.

"It's a 30 page bill that was approved on Tuesday afternoon," Roselli said. "We need to give our counsel enough time to review it."

Moving an election to November is not something that should be done hastily, he said.

"That’s the kind of thing, everyone would agree, you have to do the due diligence," said the superintendent.

He did not say what his preference was, whether April or November, but mentioned there are definite advantages to a November election, simply for the cost savings of administering the election.

Right now the board has an overview of what the bill is about, and the administration is also reviewing it, he said. "The counselor is giving us the assistance to get the big picture," he said. "Let's not rush, but we will meet in the near future."

Election deadlines to file candidacy are in March for the April election. Roselli said Friday a timeline needs to be made, mindful of both the approaching deadlines but also to allow for a thorough investigation.

"Time is of the essence," Roselli said. "Several other districts have already made the decision to move."

school districts each decided last week to move elections to November.

Tired of the status quo January 24, 2012 at 01:59 AM
I could have not said that any better! The only thing that I personally don't like about this move is that we the taxpayers are unable to vote on the school budget. Some may say that we are being a little bit cynical but, when you see and hear all of what happened in this school district with the Ritacco mess one has to wonder how much "fluff" Mr. Doering and Mr. Roselli are trying shove down the taxpayers throats without the voice of the public. Oh, wait it just seems to be Ritacco all over again only with a different suit in the Supers chair.
1stcav January 24, 2012 at 03:08 PM
other districts did this already, so whats the hold up in Toms River ???? It better not be The BOE or the Township , just do it already, it will save time and money for the TAX PAYERS...I agree with Bayway Mike , just hauling those voting machines around for each and every vote is $$$$$$$ and people get confused when you change venue and times .Nov . for all voting for the year, get on the agenda or wait till next year...let it be said; let it be written and done !!!!! next case ;
Concerned January 24, 2012 at 04:50 PM
2% is still two.five million dollars without a vote. What about fire dist. Elections n budget r next month
joey January 24, 2012 at 05:46 PM
they should also move these fire dist budget and elections to November so that people know about them. That way not just the families and the members will vote and. The tax payers need to know about there little secrets.
Mr. ? January 24, 2012 at 06:54 PM
2% could be a 5% tax increase or more, AROUND the cap...the EXCLUSIONS, and that could be how much?.... of a tax increase allowed without a right to vote ?... 12.5 mil at Concerned's equation. Jackson Twsp just suffered a 7% increase in taxes and that was done within the cap! Wonder how their BOE will vote on this legislation?


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