Regional Board Budget Has 1.67% Tax Levy Hike (Video)
Tentative figures to be officially voted on March 27.
The West Morris Regional High School District board of education approved a tentative budget for the 2012-13 school year Monday night–one that has a tax levy increase of 1.67-percent.
The total budget has increased more than 4-percent over the 2011-12 expenditures, with a general fund of $39,285,434 in 2012-13. After being approved by the county schools business administrator, the budget will then be voted on and made official by the board on Monday, March 27.
Once the board approves the budget, it will not go to a public vote after the board decided to move its election from April to November. By making the move, budgets will no longer be decided upon by residents.
A major factor in the budget’s final figures is the state aid the district received. The regional district learned of its aid figures at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23. The aid came in the form of $4,369,441, a 7.7-percent increase over last year’s $4,056,834. The 2011-12 state aid was originally $3,598,240, but an unexpected $458,594 of aid was given to the district in July, which the board decided to use toward class size relief and save for the 2012-13 school year.
Of the additional monies the district received in July, $274,304 was reserved to use toward the 2012-13 budget. That brings the total additional funds to $586,911.
Jacke Schram, the board’s finance committee chairperson, said that despite the increased aid, the district is still receiving more than a million dollars less than it received three years ago. Schram said that between 1998 and 2009, the district received more than $5 million in state aid each year.
The board was able to alleviate class size with the addition of classroom teachers in 2011-12, without raising the tax levy.
The district expects to add sixth period classes to teacher’s schedules in 2012-13, according to Doug Pechanec, the district’s business administrator.
“Class sizes have grown, and parents have brought that to our attention,” Pechanec said. “Having the ability to add a sixth period allows the schools to address that problem.”
Demographic reports show that enrollment will stay between 2,700 and 2,800 in the next school year, with a projection that Mendham High School, for the first time in the district’s history, will have a higher enrollment than West Morris Central.
Town by town tax levy figures have yet to be broken down, Pechanec said, and will be adjusted after meeting with the county business administrator.
This story is posted on Long Valley and Mendham-Chester Patch.