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Financing for School Security Could Be Up to Marlboro Voters

Board President Michael Lilonsky said paying for security upgrades after the 90 day trial program may be up to the voters.

Marlboro residents voiced concerns about the new school security system for almost two hours on Tuesday night at the township Board of Education meeting.

The decision to put a police officer in every school in the K-8 district came in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragic shooting in Newtown Connecticut.

On Tuesday, the board voted to approve a 90 day contract with the police department to put off-duty and special officers in schools, .

According to Board President Michael Lilonsky, the 90 day trial gives the district and police department time to complete security assessments and come up with a long term plan, which may or may not involve having officers in every school.

"Everyone is asking where the money is going to come from. At some point, you might see a referendum. You're not going to see education suffering," Lilonsky said.

The Board President said that decision will be made after the trial period, when the district determines what needs to be done in each school and the cost of security upgrades.

District Business Administrator Cindy Barr-Rague said this money is coming from surplus in the 2012-13 budget. After 60 days, Superintendent Dr. David Abbott will make a recommendation to the board going forward.

While the Board of Education shoulders the responsibility of school security, the effort to put officers in schools was shared by the Township Administration and the Marlboro Police Department.

"If we had the ability to wave a wand and make changes over night, we would want to do that. We can't do that, though," Mayor Jon Hornik said. "This is the best we can do right now."

Residents shared mixed emotions about the decision, some calling it a knee-jerk reaction while others applauded the quick action.

"You can't solve everything," Marlboro resident Jim Sage said. "Children's safety is paramount, but is this a hidden tax coming up with a referendum because it will exceed the two percent cap? There are a lot of people in this town that can't afford an increase in taxes."

Barr-Rague said the current, temporary plan to put officers in schools will not raise taxes. However, if the board decided to continue with the program, a later budget discussion will be conducted with the public.

Marlboro resident Pamela Karp said, "We wear seat belts regardless of whether or not it will save our life every single time. We buy cars with airbags to take every precaution, knowing that it can't save us in every single situation. However, many times it can. That's what we hope for, and that's what we bet on."

Marlboro in the Media

And while opinions differed, many parents commented on the uncomfortable nature of the extended media coverage Marlboro has experience since the new program was announced.

Members of the board assured parents all suggestions will be taken into consideration, and moving forward Abbott said he will not be speaking publicly to the media about school security measures.

"I am not going to talk about security in schools publicly," Abbott said. "After the second day, I stopped all interviews. I would rather they would have never come her, but unfortunately thats not the way the world was made. I'm moving behind the scenes."

Board Vice President Victoria Dean read a prepared statement, in which she criticized local officials for appearing 

"This decision should have been one for the board to consider with our township and parents. Unfortunately, that has not been the case," Dean said. "It has been so troubling to me over these past couple of weeks to see the endless news stories regarding the decision that this Board of Education must make.

In an effort to be a part of the dialogue during a national discussion, there are those who's intentions might have been well intended, but in the process have put our children in great peril." 

Abbott and Lilonsky assured the public that the security discussions detailing any further plans would be had behind closed doors and in conjunction with the police department. 

anonymous January 10, 2013 at 10:26 AM
"...Barr-Rague said the current, temporary plan to put officers in schools will not raise taxes. However, if the board decided to continue with the program, a later budget discussion will be conducted with the public..." Hold on to your wallets folks...this sounds like a future tax hike to me!!!! Stop this madness in its tracks right now!!!! I just experienced a tax hike under Obama who said taxes WILL NOT go up for those earning under $250,000 a year--yeah right!
cynicinmarlboro January 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM
I mentioned it in an earlier article, but how can the board NOT know how much this is truly going to cost? Isn't it as simple as how many hours are needed times some hourly wage for each officer? "Approximately $105,000" just does not cut it. This is coming from a surplus in the budget. If this is from the general fund we already contribute to with our taxes (as we have already been told previously), then we should know how much surplus there actually is. Perhaps we are already paying too much in taxes. Whatever happened to balanced budgeting? I understand some needs to be set aside for emergencies, but what constitutes an emergency is different for different people - even within the school system. Face it, no amount of extra expense on this will prevent a mentally unbalanced person from doing what they want as long as all manner of weapons can be owned by the public. The change must start there, Otherwise, the only way to protect the children will be to make every school look more like a federal prison and that is something the public just cannot afford. But the mayor is happy. He had his 15 minutes of national fame and, of course, the board voted his way. If this continues, you can be assured that higher school taxes will not be far behind.
milton McC January 10, 2013 at 12:16 PM
So you are an advocate of taking guns away from the public. Or are you just talking about law abiding citizens who qualify toown firearms? You may disarm the public (remember Nazi Germany) but how will you disarm the bad guys who don't obey the law anyway? Care to pass your rose colored glasses?
Curious George January 10, 2013 at 01:09 PM
As usual you raise (or lower) the level of discourse of those extreme right wing groups who live in fear of this gov't abolishing the 2nd amendment by taking away ALL your guns by comparing us to Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, etc...No one said that they want to take away ALL your guns...Just the assault weapons, which even Justice Scalia said, are not protected by the 2nd amendment. Every responsible person I've heard, including most NRA members, agree that military style assault weapons have no business being sold to the general public. Your fear, that you need these weapons to protect you from our gov't is paranoid...to say the least. What's the next step, storing drones in your garage?
cynicinmarlboro January 10, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Milton, Nazi Germany is not the USA (thankfully). Governor Cuomo (who owns guns) said it best yesterday in his state of the state address in NY. There is no need for military guns to be sold and there is also no need for magazines that can hold so many bullets to bring down a deer. No one is calling for banning all guns, but the types of guns is what we are finding is causing the problems (along with the people who actually have them). No rose colored glasses, but it is easier to start here than to spend untold millions of dollars to make all schools more like fortresses.
LMcCJ January 10, 2013 at 07:17 PM
It isn't about the money. It's about making an informed decision.What is the likelihood that this kind of event will occur again? How much of a deterrent will an armed officer be? Someone equated this whole thing to traffic accidents and seatbelts/airbags. It isn't at all the same. We have exhaustive statistics related to car safety. Hopefully the Board is using their 90 days to gather FACTS so that they can present an INFORMED plan moving forward. The time for knee-jerk reactions is over.
anonymous January 10, 2013 at 10:09 PM
I say vote out EVERY Board member that votes to raise taxes (via referendum) for the residents of Marlboro!!!!
MomWithaVoice January 16, 2013 at 04:16 PM
You know, I'm really disappointed while reading the comments posted. Not one of you have taken a good look at the security that previously existed in our schools. When someone walked up to the school doors, they were easily buzzed in. No one should be allowed in our schools except the children and their educators! I'm personally proud that Mayor Hornik and the Board of Ed. decided to put measures in place. I saw huge changes when visiting my child's school since January. I'm not only referring to a police officer being present either. Before being buzzed in, I was asked to show my ID, to clearly state my name and what my business was for being at the school. Only after that was I allowed to pass through the second set of doors. Then I had to scan my license and properly sign in. As far as having officers in our schools go, I'm all for it. Parents need to know that their children are being protected from the horrible monsters that unfortunately exist in this world. If putting an officer in a school will make a person with ill intentions think twice about stepping foot in a building, then I'll pay ANY amount of money to make that happen. Our children are our future and should feel protected and safe when they go to school to learn. Please stop thinking about only money! If you would have attended a childs funeral (like my family did) from the Newtown CT shootings, you surely would feel the same. NO family should ever have to go through what those parents are.
anonymous January 16, 2013 at 07:49 PM
The concept is nice; however, in the worst economy in American history, people simply can't afford it. Where do we end? the malls, the school buses, the recreation fields, recreation trips, shopping centers--you get the point. http://nt.gmnews.com/news/2013-01-16/Front_Page/Speakers_split_on_move_that_put_policemen_in_schoo.html Reading opinions about this, it seems many are split--and rightfully so. Like said before, its a good concept--with a hefty price tag that people simply can't afford. Again I reiterate: If any Board member votes to approve this measure beyond the initial 90 days, there will be a concerted effort by disgusted taxpayers to rid the Board of those who want to impose yet another tax on us hardworking people!!!
Suze February 08, 2013 at 08:23 AM
Why don't all the administrators take a pay cut along with all the teachers and aides in order to pay for the security. It's for the kids.
Suze February 08, 2013 at 08:28 AM
These people are paid very well..... http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2010/06/know_the_facts_about_nj_school.html
Marlboro Mann February 13, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Having a referendum is a complete waste of time. Anyone who has voted in a school election knows that the majority of votes are usually cast by the mindless zombies (township resident teachers, PTA big shots, NEA members, and blue collar noveau rich who think a "no" vote will turn the schools into Camden, just to name a few). Very rarely is any request for more money or higher taxes ever defeated. Since elections are being moved to November, maybe this will finally change.

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