East Windsor Schools' Tentative Budget Raises Taxes 2 Percent
The district budget remains under the mandated 2 percent cap.
The East Windsor Regional School District has presented a tentative budget for the 2013-2014 school year which indicates a tax levy increase of 2 percent, hitting the state mandated cap. Superintendent Dr. Edward Forsthoffer, III, Ed.D presented the budget to the Board of Education at their meeting on Wednesday, March 6.
Forsthoffer said that the administration began working on this budget immediately after last year’s budget was passed, but that they did not begin crunching the numbers until September.
The East Windsor Regional School District receives about 25 percent of their budget from state aid. Gov. Chris Christie’s budget address on Feb. 26 remarked that no district would receive less state aid than last year. The district was informed on Feb. 28 that they would receive an additional $1 in state aid for the 2012-2014 school year.
The budget cap on tax levies for school districts in New Jersey still remains at 2 percent. Nevertheless, Forsthoffer said that this change, implemented two years ago, had little effect on the district which has historically rarely gone over 2 percent.
The tax levy went up 1.81 percent for the 2012-2013 school year. For next year, the tentative budget projects a tax levy increase of 2 percent bringing the resident amount to $59,096,205. Forsthoffer said that the district will not be using any waivers to extend the cap and that the proposed budget is balanced.
The majority of the school budget comes from state aid and local taxes, Forsthoffer explained, receiving taxes from two municipalities: East Windsor and Hightstown.
“In a regional district, the [tax rate calculations] determine the total portion that a town must contribute to a regional district’s budget,” Forsthoffer said. “We have nothing to do with this determination and once the town’s values are established we are given this information from the state.”
For 2012-2013, East Windsor’s portion increased slightly from the previous year to 86.5 percent of the total budget with Hightstown covering the remaining 13.5 percent. For 2013-2014, East Windsor's tax rate calculation decreases slightly to 86.2 percent while Hightstown will be responsible for 13.8 percent of the budget.
“I believe this budget is fiscally efficient so that we are able to maintain and improve as many of our programs as possible while recognizing the financial situation of our students,” the Superintendent said.
The tentative budget was ratified by the Board of Education at their March 6 meeting so that it could be sent to the Monmouth County Executive Superintendent for approval. A public hearing on the final school budget and it’s approval is scheduled for Thursday, March 21.