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New Providence School Tax Levy to Increase by 2.17% for 2014

Mike Neavill

Saturday, April 26, 2014 • 6:12pm

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The owner of a home with a market value of $553,000 will see an increase of $157, or 2.17% for calendar year 2014.

During a 30-minute presentation of its April 24 meeting, Finance Chairman Adam Smith outlined details of the budget preparation and provided an impressive list of district achievements.

Guiding the preparation of the budget is the school district’s philosophy of a shared commitment among teachers, students and parents. Smith noted the district has a macro view of education based on the total kindergarten to twelfth grade experience.

“Education is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Smith added.

The 2014/15 school budget is $34,824,000. Smith said that 76% of that figure is for salaries and benefits. The budget includes the addition of three elementary reading specialists for the first and second grades, two special education aides and a part-time special education teacher.

Smith noted a continuing emphasis on school security and technology. More security cameras will be added to all schools and enhancements will be made to the central monitoring center.

Technology improvements also play an important role in the district’s overall plan. District-wide, 246 devices will be replaced, 170 additional devices will be purchased for elementary and middle school use and the two elementary schools will see wireless network upgrades.

The school district’s status of having the top-rated high school in the state has apparently drawn additional families to New Providence seeking higher excellence in education for their families. Smith said there has been a 3% increase in enrollment in the borough’s four schools in the last year. The enrollment numbers come as no surprise as student achievements continue to excel. The class of 2013 had two National Merit finalists and almost 99% of students attended post-secondary schools. The average SAT score was 1693 compared to a state average of 1521.

Smith described the high school as a beehive of activity from early morning to late evening. Some 92% of students participated in co-curricular activities.

“There is probably no other school district in the state than can make that claim,” Smith told a group of about 50 residents who attended the presentation.

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