MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Upon receipt of the Middletown Township School District’s soundly rejected budget, Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger is immediately proposing a salary freeze as the only viable alternative to making significantly deeper cuts to the District’s rejected budget proposal.

“The voters have spoken loud and clear—they are demanding a salary freeze,” said Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger.  “I am proposing to the Township Committee that it ask the teachers and their union to agree to a salary freeze.”  If they will not share in this year’s sacrifices, we will have no alternative but to make comparable cuts to address an already overwhelming burden on the Township’s property taxpayers.”

“The school budget accounts for more than 60% of our property tax bills, and freezing salaries for one year would save approximately $3 million,” continued Scharfenberger.  “Most importantly, a freeze will help save teaching jobs, therefore, letting taxpayers know that we and the teachers are putting the interests of our students first during these difficult economic times.”

“As the parent of a Middletown student and a recent graduate of our schools, I do not take this task lightly,” concluded Scharfenberger.  “I look forward to working closely with the incumbent and newly elected school board members to increase cooperation and shared services between the school district and the township to save taxpayers money—not only in the school levy—but also as we work to address the Township’s significant budget shortfall in the near future.”

Mayor Scharfenberger is requesting Middletown teachers and unions make a decision by April 30th as the Township Committee will only have two weeks to determine where to recommend necessary cuts in the District’s rejected $140 million budget.