Mt. Laurel Board of Education approved the final 2013–2014 school year budget before submitting it the New Jersey Department of Education on Tuesday, March 26.
According to business administrator Robert Wachter, the final budget must be certified and submitted to NJDOE before its posted online. After the submission it will be in effect from July 1 to June 30.
He said nothing has changed since the last presentation.
Taxes for the school district will increase just under the 2 percent cap and the 2013–2014 budget increased by 1.78 percent or $1.3 million from last year.
According to director of communications Marie Reynolds, the general tax levy fund will increase 1.85 percent to $54,288,538 for the 2013–2014 school year.
The tax rate is expected to increase 6.5 cents to $1.72 per $100 of assessed value, according to the budget plan submitted by Wachter at the board’s special meeting on Tuesday, March 5.
Taxpayers will possibly pay $46.90 more in taxes based on the average assessed home, without a decrease in ratables, Reynolds said. If there is a decrease in ratables the average assessed homeowner could pay $92.37 more.
Currently, the average assessed home in Mt. Laurel is $142,100.
Reynolds said the current property values in Mt. Laurel could decrease because of pending tax appeals.
“Ratables are struck at this point. We do not expect them to increase and we hope they don’t decrease,” Wachter said.
The school district will also receive $18,141 more in state aid for 2013–2014.
In 2009 and 2011 the school district lost more than $5 million in state aid, Reynolds said adding it’s pleasing to see the school district will receive more state aid next year.
Reynolds said there are no radical projects happening. But there is an emphasis on security, curriculum and technology in the school district, she said.
According to the budget presentation, technology improvements include new computers to support PARCC, while curriculum improvements include summer curriculum materials for the new Harrington Middle School electives, a reading support program, leveled literacy materials, math program materials and non-fiction texts.
Security improvements included in the budget are hardware and monitor installation as well as security camera installations in Hillside Elementary, Countryside Elementary and Parkway Elementary.
The budget also allocates capital improvements, such as the Harrington Middle School roof project; painting in Larchmont Elementary, Hartford and Springville; unit ventilator replacement at the Hattie Britt Administration building; HVAC controls in Hartford Elementary; and three new replacement school buses.
Superintendent Antoinette Rath said most of the money the school earns is from the local school tax. She said approximately 84 percent comes from local school taxes, while 7.25 percent comes from state aid, 1.75 percent comes from federal aid and 7 percent is generated by the district.
She said 71.8 percent of that money is spent on instructional programs.
“Our priorities are really focused on not only providing a well rounded academic experience for our youngsters not only providing a well rounded after school experience for our youngsters we are also in the business of generating funds,” Rath said.