Vernon. The Vernon Township School District plans to unveil its 2022-23 budget this week before voting on a preliminary approval.
The budget will be presented at the school board meeting on March 24, as this paper goes to press.
After the budget receives its preliminary approval, it will go to the Sussex County School Superintendents’ Office for review. The budget will then come back, and the school board will hold a public hearing in April, before final adoption.
The complete picture, including tax figures, are expected to be released at the meeting.
Earlier in the week, the school board’s Finance Committee, which is chaired by school board member Justin Annunziata, agreed on March 15 to take $2.1 million out of the district’s Capital Reserve Fund and move forward with three projects during 2022-23.
The school board is looking at $1.5 million for new windows at Vernon Township High School, $600,000 for new windows at Glen Meadow Middle School, and $500,000 to repair the bridge at Glen Meadow. The windows are about 40 years old.
Annunziata said it was fortunate the school board made a large deposit of about $4.1 million into the Capital Reserve Fund. “If we did not, we would not have had the funds to complete these projects, and they would continue to be neglected,” he said.
He also said the district needs to look at creating a maintenance schedule so they don’t have to make several expensive repairs at the same time.
“We haven’t been doing the maintenance that we should have been doing for a very long time in this district,” school board president Kelly Mitchel said. “We wouldn’t be having some of these major expenses had we done maintenance.”
Mitchell said poor drainage has caused problems with the Glen Meadow bridge.
“Once you identify these issues, then they become a liability because you know about it,” school board member Martin O’Donnell said. “If you don’t deal with it, that opens you up to more liability because you knew about it.”