With a total school district budget that increased by almost $1,000,000.00, the Roselle Park Board Of Education (BOE) presented a $30,692,009.00 budget at the Roselle Park High School (RPHS) library tonight which included a $0 increase in the tax levy during the last of two budget presentations / public input sessions.
BOE member and Finance Committee Chair Dr. Jeff Parrell led the meeting and gave an update on the latest figures which included an additional $595,594 in state aid. In comparison to the figures provided at the first budget presentation on February 16th, expenditures rose by over $256,000 due mostly to estimated increases in Special Education-related services, maintenance of aging infrastructure, and purchasing of books for school libraries as well as textbooks. During the presentation, Dr. Parrell described how the BOE planned to use the additional state aid. A general breakdown of the extra funding was provided to the public:
|State Facility Tuition Charge|
|Additional Debt Service|
|Compensation for loss of tuition revenue|
|(Students no longer coming to Roselle Park Schools)|
|Compensation for loss of extraordinary aid|
|(Students receiving less qualifying services)|
|Deferring use of additional 1% of state aid|
|(Moved to 2013-2014 School Year Budget)|
|(Allowed to accumulate over time but can only be used for maintenance-related services)|
|Additional materials to district libraries|
|Additional textbook purchases for grades K-12|
|Contracted maintenance services|
|Special Education Related Services|
|(Occupational therapy, physical therapy, bilingual evaluations, etc.)|
In total, up to $342,000 could be deferred to the 2012-2013 school year in order to – as the BOE stated in their PowerPoint presentation – ‘cushion inflationary increases next year’.
As a comparison, the total amount which would be able to be raised through property taxes by the BOE next year, in 2013, without going to a public vote is $350,000. This amount, which is a 2% tax levy increase, was a stipulation of the BOE election being moved to November which would save the BOE $13,000 in election-related costs annually. The move to November was voted on and approved by both the municipal governing body and the BOE in February of this year. The 2% cap amount, combined with the deferred state aid, could mean that the Board would be able to increase the 2012-2013 budget by around $692,000 – in addition to any state aid given next year – without having the public vote on it.
The BOE is scheduled to hold its official public hearing on the school district budget on Tuesday, March 20th, at 7 p.m. in the Sherman School library.