New Providence School Board Approves Two Percent Property Tax Increase
Friday, March 22, 2013 • 7:59am
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – With no cuts in academic programs or co-curricular activities and the addition of several staff members, the Board of Education approved a $33,821,595 budget for the 2013–14 school year.
Speaking to a large group of parents at Thursday night's meeting, Finance Chairman Adam Smith said the budget increased .88 percent over the previous year or $295,000.
The property taxes will increase by .78 percent, which amounts to amounts to a $141 increase to the owner of an average home assessed at $286,000 with a market value of $552,000.
Smith said that preparations for the 2013–14 budget were hampered by a loss of $11.6 million from the New Providence tax base caused mainly by commercial property re-assessments.
“If the property tax base had remained flat, the increase would have been 1.1 percent,” Smith said.
He added the school district which received $841,924 in state aid last year received an additional $29,613 this year bringing the total to $871,537.
In addition to the state aid and tax levy, the school district appropriated $976,000 in surplus from the previous year to the 2013–14 budget.
Smith outlined five areas of increased expenses: employee salaries, additional staff, out-of-district tuition costs, special education related services and the personal learning initiative utilizing iPads.
Most of the staff increases are in the area of special education – one teacher and 2.5 aides. Part-timers will include a science teacher, a technology specialist and a speech therapist.
Through the collective bargaining process, employees will be contributing $593,000 for health and dental benefits. However, the school district, on advice of insurance brokers, is expecting a 10 percent increase in insurance premiums.
Using the most recent state data, Smith compared the per pupil cost in New Providence with other area school districts.
Summit cost per pupil is $14,000 with Berkeley Heights and Madison at about $13,000 each and Chatham at $11,780.
The New Providence cost per pupil is $12,769 and the state average is $13,253.
Smith took particular pride in the fact that 92 percent of borough students participated in co-curricular activities.
“It’s unbelievable. The kids enjoy coming to school and being engaged,” he added.