Berkeley Heights School Tax Rate to be Lower Than Expected
Friday, March 23, 2012 • 5:59am
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The tax school tax rate for the 2012-13 school year will be even lower than expected. Although the exact rate was not calculated by press time, School Board President John Sincaglia said at the Thursday, March 22 board meeting that the owner of the average home assessed at $307,599 will save about $16 off of last year’s tax bill. He previously estimated the savings at “about $12” when the budget was introduced on March 1.
School Board Secretary and Business Administrator Donna Felezzola said, “This is the first time we’ve had a tax decrease.”
The change came about on March 5, after the budget was introduced. That day the board learned that pension contributions for non-teaching personnel would fall by $86,592, instead of increasing by eight percent as anticipated and as history led the board to estimate.
Board members at the March 22 meeting decided to split the extra money, allotting $43,000 to additional tax relief and the remainder to purchase additional iPads and hire temporary personnel at a cost of about $10,000 to help the custodial staff this summer.
After some number crunching during the meeting, Felezzola said the total budget will be $45,761,617, up from last year’s $41,974,232. The amount to be raised from taxes will be $37,178,657, down from both last year which was $37,760,107, and the previous estimate for 2012-13 which was $37,220,249.
In 2012-13 improvements include:
- A new elementary reading program
- An additional third grade teacher
- Additional classroom technology and increased bandwidth
- The return of a fully funded middle school sports program
- A special education supervisor because many special education classes are being brought in-district
- $325,000 added to the capital reserve fund
- Class sizes will return to prior levels – K-1 a maximum of 20 students; grades 2-3 a maximum of 22 students and 4-5 a maximum of 24 students.
- More teacher professional development to align with a new evaluation system, new core curriculum standards and bullying curriculum
- Maintenance projects and classroom upgrades that have not been done for the past few years.
The budget passed unanimously.
Girls' Basketball Champs
The board congratulated the Governor Livingston Girls’ Basketball Team for being county champs. They went 26-2 during the season and 5-0 during the county championships. A short reception was enjoyed by the team and the school board following a standing ovation from all present at the meeting. Superintendent Judith Rattner said they “made history this year by winning the county basketball tournament.”
New Head Football Coach
The new football coach for next season is Gary Lubisco. Lubisco comes from Dunellen High School where he was the assistant coach for 11 years. His annual stipend will be determined after new salary guides and stipends have been established. His predecessor, Terry Hanratty, who was not reappointed, made $10,791 this year.