Hamburg votes to support countywide Sussex Tech funding

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Interim Wallkill Valley Regional High School superintendent Robert Walker brought his fight against high tuition costs at Sussex County Technical High School to the Hamburg Borough Council on Monday, Aug. 4.

The Borough Council passed a resolution by a 5-1 vote to support the elimination of tuition costs for Sussex Tech and return it to county funding. Councilmann Dan Barr ave the sole "no" vote.

Walker, the former superintendent at Kittatinny Regional High School came out of a seven-year retirement to take over for retiring superintendent Edward Bolcar.

Looking at the numbers as his first order of business, Walker was surprised to see Wallkill Valley and its sending districts footing a disproportionate amount of the bill for tuition costs at Sussex County Technical School.

“We’ll be taking a $2.7 million loss in 10 years,” he said.

He announced the burden had recently been transferred from the county to a tuition-based funding, which comes from the coffers of the budget of the county’s high schools instead of from the county itself. He urged the council to adopt a resolution to mandate the school “return to the 40-year history of the county flipping the bill.”

Mayor Paul Marino questioned the necessity of the council taking action on a vote concerning the high school, but the majority of the board opted for discussion.

“It’s a county institution,” Councilman Rich Krasnomowitz said, agreeing with the idea of proportionately spread funding.

Barr saw the other side of the issue.

“What about the parents who are paying 20 percent in school taxes whose children don’t go to Wallkill?” he asked. He also made the prediction that if the burden went back to the county, the county tax rate would go up in response.

Walker made the counter argument that a widespread county tax increase would be more evenly distributed and fair than the current situation.

Walker also visited the Lafayette Township Committee, but the panel did not take any action.

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