Information from SOM District on Inclusion and School Budget

The SOM School District posted two articles of interest to families with special education needs, one on the School Budget for 2014-2015 and one on Models of Inclusion.

Link to Budget Documents 2014-2015 as of April 4, 2014

Link to Models of Inclusion from South Orange Maplewood School District

The Models of Inclusion document, published in April 2014, contains the following topics:

What is inclusion?
What is an IEP?
What is “co-teaching?”
What is “in class consultation?”
Is SOMSD reducing inclusion classes?
Is anything changing in the special education services provided to students with disabilities?
Is SOMSD reducing the number of classes using co-teaching strategies?
How will general education teachers for inclusion classes be supported?
How will the effectiveness of the new approach be reported for special education students?
If the new approach is not meeting a student’s needs, what will be done to adjust their services?
Are you making adjustments to save money?
What can I do if I have questions?

The Department of Special Services encourages parents/guardians to contact their case manager with questions specific to their own child.  Parents/guardians are also welcome to contact Dr. Patricia Barker, Director of Special Services, at 973-762-5600 ext. 1841 or


Budget Forum and District Budget Documents

On March 4, 2014, the district’s proposed budget for the 2014-2015 school year was presented to the Board of Education and the community.   Reductions in special education staff are again in the school budget plan and are included below.  A complete list of documents for the budget can be found on the district site here.   The information that follows was posted on the district site on March 5th:

Cheryl Schneider, Business Administrator and Board Secretary, reviewed the budget development process, highlighting the alignment of the budget to the district goals, indicating the amount needed to be reduced, where the reductions are proposed, and the tax impact of the Superintendent’s recommended budget.  Ms. Schneider also presented 5 year budget projections with a 2% operating tax levy cap.
The Board is considering all of the information presented, and will be discussing the budget in three upcoming meetings.

The 2014-2015 budget proposes a total expenditure of $119,765,545 and was developed to support the district goals set by the Board of Education. These goals are set annually and are designed to help the district continue to build momentum in enhancing student learning, strengthening teaching, engaging parents as partners, operating more efficiently, and doing more with less.

The guiding principle of the budget development is the alignment of the budget to district goals and strategy, and reining in spending on major cost drivers, as specified in District Goal Four. More information is available in the PowerPoint Presentation from the March 4, 2014, Board meeting.

Positions slated for elimination include:

  • 1 Child Study Team member
  • 1 Secretary
  • 0.5 Transportation Personnel
  • 1 Elementary Enrichment Teacher
  • 5 CHS Teaching Staff
  • 2 Elementary Specials Teachers
  • 2 Special Education Resource Room Staff
  • 6 Special Education Teaching Staff

Local Tax Impact
The budget proposes a total expenditure of $119,765,545, with a total school tax levy for the operating budget of $106,563,115 and $3,999,551for the debt service budget. This represents an increase over last year in the school tax levy of $2,201,202, or 2.03% in percentage terms. Of that, 2% is attributable to increases in the operating budget, with the remaining .03% slated to cover the increase in annual debt service.

Community Input on the Budget
The Board of Education welcomes and encourages community input on the budget throughout the process. In addition to discussions at monthly Board of Education meetings, a special Community Forum is scheduled for 7:30pm on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 in the District Meeting Room at 525 Academy Street in Maplewood, NJ.   The Board invites community input into the budget discussion at the Forum and other key Board meetings. Feedback can also be sent to Board members 
2014-2015 Budget Calendar

Mon., Mar 11 Community Forum on the 2014-2015 Budget
Mon. Mar. 17 BOE Meeting. BOE considers/adopts preliminary budget to submit to Essex County Superintendent for approval to advertise
Mon. Apr. 28 BOE Meeting. Public Hearing/Action to Levy 2014-2015 school tax