The South Brunswick Board of Education will hold a public hearing on the school budget tonight (March 26). Unlike previous years, residents will not get to vote on the school budget next month. . Officials estimated the move could save the district $36,000 on the cost of running the April election.
the board discussed adopting a spending plan that would increase the school tax rate by about 1.7 percent, but maintain staffing at current levels.
The proposed 4.9-cent increase would result in a 2012 tax rate of about $2.85 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a township home with an assessed value of $190,000 would see their school taxes go up by about $100 if the board approves the spending plan.
During the meeting, preliminary discussions began for the public with two options presented for next year's school budget: A tax-rate increase without any staff cuts, or keeping the tax rate at its current level, which would require cutting over 30 staff members.
The other option the board is considering would be to hold the tax rate firm at about $2.80 per $100 of assessed valuation by cutting $2.7 million, or about one-half of the money lost due to the ratable decrease.
This option would require eliminating 38.5 full time equivalent positions. The district has cut 212.7 full time equivalent employees since 2005-06. Teacher-student ratios for grades K-1 have increased to 1:23, for grades 2-5 increased to 1:25 and for grades 6-12 increased to 1:28.
Last year, voters approved a $95 million general fund levy that carried a 12.2-cent tax rate increase. A township home with an assessed value of $200,000 saw an increase of about $244 in school taxes and a home assessed at $300,000 saw an increase of about $366. The budget maintained the tax levy at the same level for the third consecutive year in South Brunswick.
Over the last six years, the school tax levy has increased by about $300,000.
The public hearing will be held tonight at 7:30 p.m. at , 635 Georges Road, Monmouth Junction.
What are your thoughts on the proposed 4.9-cent increase? If this option were presented to voters on the ballot as in previous years, would you give the budget the thumbs up or the thumbs down? Vote in the poll and tell us why you voted that way in the comments.