Washington Twp. Voters OK K-8 Budget With Small Tax Hike
Four school board candidates to continue in positions.
Washington Township residents approved of their K-8 district’s proposed budget on Wednesday, April 27, with unofficial numbers showing a tally of 1,296 to 904 to pass the $39,418,849 spending plan.
It comes with a tax rate of $1.1352 per $100 of assessed valuation, a small increase over the previous year's 1.131. It translates to a yearly bill of $1,790 (not counting municipal and county taxes, or the taxes for the West Morris Regional District, which are all set separately). That would be up 1.01 percent from the $1,770 such a home would have paid for 2010-2011.
The district received $380,000 in state aid, which was used to bolster the budget and reduce the tax rate for residents. While no curricular or extra-curricular programs are being cut next school year, officials say that two grade level sections are being eliminated due to the drop in enrollment.
The budget was defeated by voters in 2010, and had an additional $1 million taken from it when the Washington Township Committee made cuts. The district now requires a pay-to-participate program for extra-curricular activities. Prior to that, the budget was approved by voters in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
"We are extremely pleased with the positive outcome of this year’s school budget election," Superintendent Jeff Mohre said after votes were tallied. "Administratively, we worked diligently to craft a spending plan that supports our students and reflects fiscal prudence. We thank our school community for its support of our schools and our town's children. As a district we are eager to finalize our instructional plans for the new school year and knowing what our fiscal resources will be for 2011-2012 enables us to do just that."
This year's budget comes with a tax levy (the total amount of taxes raised throughout the community) of $30,705,982, up from $30,487,832. The increase falls well under the 2 percent cap on year-to-year tax levy increases signed into law last year.
Voters Wednesday also approved the four school board candidates running uncontested on the ballot. David Chance Healy will begin a new three-year term, his second on the board of education. Michelle Munley, who was appointed to her seat in August, 2010, will begin a three-year term. Current Board President Michael Rec will start a new one-year term, and Walt Cullen, who was appointed to his seat in November, will begin his first three-year term on the board.