Feedback on Margate’s School Budget & Operations

From John Sewell of Margate:

The Margate tax rate is up due to the City Commission’s refusal to address the 800-pound gorilla in its midst; i.e., the obscenely bloated school budget. At $12.9 million a year, it represents more than one-third of the entire city budget. Such inordinate spending is being funded on the backs of hard-strapped senior citizens.

Herbie Lipson, in his eye-opening article “What happens down the Shore when no one’s looking” that appeared in the January issue of Philadelphia Magazine, said, “Teachers in (Margate’s) elementary school – where the class size is about 17 students per grade – earned a median salary of $88,362 in 2015, some $30,000 more than what teachers glean in wealthy Moorestown.”

He continues, “Why such largess? From the local perspective, the answer might well be, why not? … From 2008 to 2016, the municipal budget has grown 31 percent, from $24 million to $31 million … All this spending would seem to be a prime example of government bloat and inefficiency, which it very much is.”

The key word is “inefficiency,” at which both the city and school board excel. The county school superintendent singled out the Margate school board for failing all seven indicators of efficiency.

The board is in dire need of adult supervision, but none is forthcoming from the mayor. In fact, he goes out of his way to appoint fiscally irresponsible members to the board. One would think he’d have a scintilla of compassion for his fellow octogenarians, but such is not the case. He continues to throw millions at a totally inefficient school system.

It’s no secret that enormous tax savings could be had by immediately eliminating one of the two grossly underutilized schools. It could be accomplish this June by simply re-purposing the entire third floor of Ross School. It’s capacity would jump from 300 to over 400 students, more than ample for both present and future needs.

However, don’t bank on it anytime soon. The Mayor has a vested interest in seeing this insane and costly charade going on and on ad infinitum to the extreme detriment of taxpayers. In his own words, he has “skin in the game.” He also has a solemn, sworn oath to uphold the New Jersey State Constitution, which expressly mandates a “thorough and efficient” education. It’s long overdue for him to keep his word.

John Sewell

Margate City District pupils are housed in two separate facilities: the Eugene A. Tighe Middle School constructed in 1956, and the William H. Ross III Elementary School constructed in 2000.
The elementary school houses the district administrative offices and grades K-4. The middle school, which houses grades 5-8.

Overall responsibility for the education of the K-8 children within the City of Margate lies with the district’s Board of Education, composed of seven members, appointed by the mayor for staggered terms of three years. 

Board of Education Members (Expiration of Term)
  • Jim Olivo, President (2018)
  • Catherine Horn, Vice President (2017)
  • Tracy Santoro  (2017)
  •  Lisa Youngblood, Esq.  (2018)
  • Joanne Kulzer (2019)
  • Joel Frankel (2019)
  • Jim Swift, Esq. (2018)

District Administration and Staff

  • Mr. John DiNicola ,
    Superintendent of Margate Schools; Director of Special Projects & Grants; Director of the Dominick A. Potena Performing Arts Center

    • Teresa Osborne, Secretary to the Superintendent of Schools
    • Susan E. Palaia,
      Board Secretary and School Business Administrator
    • Jennifer Germana, Assistant School Business Administrator
  • Dr. Michelle CarneyRay-Yoder,
    Principal – William H. Ross Elementary School; Director of Special Education; 504 Coordinator; Homeless Liaison; Anti-Bullying Coordinator (ABC)

    • Carol Gitto, Secretary; Secretary of Special Education
  • Mrs. Audrey
    Principal – Eugene A. Tighe Middle School; Director of Curriculum, Assessment, and Technology

    • Cyndie Eastman, Secretary


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