Board examines details of the cost of 2 departments

By karl vilacoba
Staff Writer

By karl vilacoba
Staff Writer

MARLBORO — The Board of Educa-tion continued its series of program audits last week, this time examining the nuts and bolts of the K-8 school district’s transportation system.

In a report prepared by Transportation Coordinator Teresa Dondrea, many of the specifics of the 2002-03 school year’s operations were presented at the July 30 meeting, as well as a few predictions for the future.

A look back at the recently completed school year was also presented.

In total, district buses covered more than 862,800 miles of roads during the 2001-02 school year, not including field trips and special activities, the report said. The transportation system employed 59 regular drivers, 17 substitutes and ran 210 routes.

The district used 54 54-passenger buses and 21 16-passenger vans, the report said. Two full-time mechanics maintained the vehicles. One large cost to the Marlboro district was the need to provide transportation funds by way of the Monmouth-Ocean Educational Services Commission to bus a few students to out-of-district schools. Last year the cost for 19 students was $364,776; approximately $19,200 per pupil. According to the report, those numbers will be about the same in 2002-03. A total of $4,244,965 has been budgeted for district transportation purposes for the 2002-03 school year. With a total of 5,837 students provided for by the district, the transportation costs amount to $667 per pupil, the report said.

About $205,000 in savings will be realized as the result of the elimination of a few middle school and kindergarten bus routes.

Also audited were the buildings and grounds divisions, detailed in a report prepared by Supervisor Daniel McCormick. In the total $5.5 million support costs budgeted during the 2001-02 school year, the highest costs were $3.3 million in salaries, $1.1 million in electricity and heat, and $284,100 in phone costs, which included all Internet access lines.

No decisions regarding the programs and/or departments are made on the nights of the audits. The board is examining each program with plans to vote on and enact cuts during a meeting in the fall.

In other business, board member Cynthia Green, who chairs the construction committee, announced that construction of the Marlboro Memorial Middle School, Nolan Road, is proceeding on schedule. The school is scheduled to open in January when some seventh- and eighth-graders will move to the new building from the Marlboro Middle School.

In September 2003, the district’s sixth-graders will move into the two middle schools, with some attending the Marlboro Middle School, Route 520, and others attending the new middle school under a redistricting plan previously adopted by the board.

Also, the board announced that one additional first grade teacher will be hired at both the Frank J. Dugan and Marlboro elementary schools. At the Dugan school in the 2002-03 school year, five teachers will instruct 124 first-graders (average of 25 pupils per class). At Marlboro Elementary, five teachers will instruct 120 first-graders (average of 24 pupils per class).