Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 15
 
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
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School Budget Up for Vote April 15

Aside from being a deadline for filing tax returns, April 15 is annual school election day for Princeton residents of both the Borough and Township. From noon until 9 p.m., they will be asked to vote for or against the proposed 2008-2009 Princeton Regional School budget, and to select three new school board members. Last year, for the first time since 1991, the public defeated the proposed school budget, leaving it to a committee, formed by both municipalities and the board, to reconfigure it.

The Princeton Regional School district’s proposed $57 million tax levy for the 2008-2009 academic year will also be up for approval. That levy, based on property value, will translate into an increase of $332 per year for the average Borough homeowner with a property valued at $349,000, or an increase of nine cents to $1.965 for every $100 of assessed property value, and a $45 decrease per year for the average Township homeowner, with a property valued at $431,000 —a one-cent decrease to $1.6997 for every $100 of assessed property value.

In a recent presentation to a combined meeting of the Borough Council and Township Committee, school superintendent Judy Wilson noted that those figures do not reflect the school levy or how the budget is constructed. The levies are based on a formula that factors in housing sales in the Borough and Township between October 2006 and October 2007. Houses sold in the Borough during that time span held more closely than they did in the Township, Ms. Wilson said. The formula is also based on municipal rateables, she added. The proposed $56,965,650 tax levy is added to other fund balances, tuition expenses, state aid, and charter school aid, resulting in a $72.5 million operating budget for the upcoming school year.

Two seats are available in Princeton Township, where Walter Bliss (incumbent), Dan Haughton and Naomi Perlman are seeking three-year terms.

Mr. Bliss, a Moore Street resident, is running for his third three-year term on the school board. He has served as liaison to the Special Education PTO and the Minority Education Committee, municipal liaison for the board, liaison for the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance and as a member of the Personnel, Program and Facilities committees. He has also served on the board’s negotiating team for support staff negotiations. An attorney with a local private practice, he is the father of four children, all of whom have graduated from the school system.

Mr. Haughton, of Finley Road, is seeking his first school board term. He and his wife, Nell, moved to Princeton in 1982, and their three daughters attended the Princeton Regional Schools.

Mr. Haughton has served on the boards of Trinity Counseling Service, Crisis Ministry, YMCA, HiTops, June Opera Festival and the vestry of Trinity Church for two terms. A native of Alabama, he has degrees from Vanderbilt University and Harvard Business School and is currently vice president of Connotate, an Internet software company.

Ms. Perlman, who lives on Meadowbrook Drive, is seeking her first term on the school board. She has worked in private practice law specializing in litigation and education law. She worked for the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), served on the Mercer County Juvenile Conference Committee, served on the Littlebrook PTO as vice president for fund-raising and is currently vice president of school services. Ms. Perlman volunteers at the University Medical Center at Princeton, and is active with the district’s Special Education PTO. She has two children attending Littlebrook Elementary School.

One seat is available in Princeton Borough, where Tim Quinn is running unopposed for a three-year term.

Mr. Quinn, a Wilton Street resident, has lived in Princeton Borough for 19 years. A writer and graphic designer, he is public information director for the Princeton Public Library, managing the library’s marketing and promotion efforts related to services, programming and fund-raising. He has been active as a parent in the Princeton Regional Schools since 2002, serving as co-president of the Riverside School PTO from 2005 to 2007. He is Riverside’s liaison to the Princeton Education Foundation.

“Our state law calls for an annual vote on the funding of public education and the call to local board leadership,” said school superintendent Judy Wilson in a recent Budget Newsletter. “So it is that each April we turn to you to participate in the critical process of becoming familiar with the goals and impact of the proposed school budget and the qualifications of those running for election to the Board of Education. Neither is a simple matter; each matters greatly in the strength and vitality of our community.”

For additional details on the budget and the election, see www.prs.k12.nj.us/, or call 609-806-4204.

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