The Big Numbers: The school board is proposing a 2011-2012 budget of $47,631,191, with a local tax levy of $41,195,174. The tax rate in Washington Township would be $.53 per $100 of assessed valuation, an increase of $.09 from the 2010-11 tax rate of $.44 per $100 tax rate.
What It Means for Your Tax Bill: If your home is assessed at the municipal average of $436,787, that tax rate of 0.48 percent translates to a yearly bill of $2,317 (not counting municipal and county taxes, which are set separately). That would be up 1.4 percent from the $2,284.51 such a home would have paid for 2010-2011.
What It Means For School Programs: Officials say no significant cuts are expected this year, in fact, four teachers will be hired in the district; two at Mendham High School and two at West Morris Central. The full time positions for Central will be in the History and English departments.
Impact of the Tax Cap: For the first time, tax levies for school budgets are only typically allowed to grow up to 2 percent year-over-year. The law putting that cap into effect, however, allows certain exceptions for expenses such as healthcare and pension contributions. Even with those costs included, the tax levy is set to stay under the cap, at a 0.48 percent increase.
The History: The budget was defeated by voters in 2010, and has been a mixed bag over the previous eight years, with just four budgets being approved.
What Happens if Voters Shoot Down the Budget: It'll next go to the township committee for review. The committee can then make cuts, which it would send back to the school board to implement. The committee gets to decide how much money comes out of the plan; the school board gets to decide where that money comes from.
How To Learn More: Our previous coverage is a good place to start. See for more. Also, the full budget presentation from the school district is available as a PDF here.
THE SCHOOL BOARD RACE
In the Running: Five people are running for four open school board seats: current board president of Washington Township; John Meyer of Washington Township; of Mendham Township; and and , vying for the Chester representative seat. (Click their names to read profiles of each).
The Big Issues: Among the issues facing candidates are questions surrounding the funding formula for the district, and how the board can assure faculty members that a lengthy amount of time without a contract won't happen again.
WHERE AND WHEN TO VOTE
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on April 27. Locations are as follows:DISTRICT LOCATION 01, 02, 04, 05
Long Valley Middle School, 51 West Mill Road
03, 06, 09, 12, 13
Washington Township Public Library, 37 E. Springtown Road
07, 08, 10, 11
90 Flocktown Road