$5 Tax Dip Approved in Twp. Schools Budget
Board of education approves spending plan with 0.51-percent tax levy increase.
In addition to an overall budget decrease, the Washington Township Board of Education approved Thursday night a decrease in the tax impact on the average resident.
The 2013-14 school budget comes in at $41,402,014, down $635,492 from last year’s overall spending plan. The tax levy–the portion paid for by commercial and residential taxes–increased 0.51-percent, complying with the 2-percent state mandated tax levy cap.
It’s the second consecutive year the tax impact will decrease for Washington Township homeowners, as the average resident with property assessed at $440,600 will see a $5.23 decrease in their annual bill. The board approved a $4.36 decrease in the current year’s budget.
The tax rate for the new spending plan is $1.133, down from the current year’s $1.134.
Four new line items highlight the budget, including a switch from half-day to full-day kindergarten throughout the district; enhanced security measures at each school building; HVAC enhancements at Old Farmers Road School; and funding for a new guidance counselor at the Long Valley Middle School.
No programs or personnel had to be cut as a result of the budget, which Board of Education President Cathleen Compoli said has been reduced overall for the fifth consecutive year.
State aid remained flat for the district at $7,997,562, which was expected, according to Business Administrator Liz George. While federal aid has not yet been awarded, George said the district budget to receive just 80-percent of what it received last year due to sequestration.
Implementing full-day kindergarten drew resident concern and support when it was officially announced by Superintendent Jeff Mohre as an option in February. At the next meeting, which included a full blown presentation on the grade’s curriculum and overall budget expenditures, approximately 50 residents attended, none of which opposed the program.