The Monroe Township Board of Education passed the 2019-2020 budget at its latest meeting on May 2.
A 2 percent tax levy was agreed upon by the board. The 2 percent increase on the average house assessed at $203,000 will increase the school taxes $77 over the course of one year, or just under $6 per month.
The general budget for the 2019-2020 year came in at $96,984,471, while the 2018-2019 budget was at $95,247,610, representing an increase of 1.82 percent.
Almost 40 percent of the budget goes to funding teachers and staff in the form of salaries; close to 17 percent goes to benefits; special education receives 9.5 percent of the budget, while transportation receives almost 9 percent. Just over 8 percent goes to plant services; 8 percent goes to programs; tuition accounts for almost 5.5 percent; capital outlay is more than 2 percent. Extracurricular activities and the capital reserve combine for less than 1 percent. A breakdown of the powerpoint presentation is available on the district website, monroetwp.k12.nj.us/.
During his presentation, Superintendent Richard Perry outlined some programs he was looking to bolster and add to the district. These programs are an American Reading Company program for grades kindergarten through eight; a robotics program for the middle and high school; a summer intervention program for the elementary schools; the world of difference anti-bias program for the district; Challenge Day for the middle school; supportive cultural programs for the high school; character education programs for the middle school and the Crisis Go program for the district.
Quite possibly the most important part of the budget was replenishing the capital reserve and capital outlay accounts to restock some of the funds lost from the Holly Glen mold remediation. The board will also create a maintenance reserve account, which is essentially a savings account for future projects.
Perry ended his presentation by reflecting on the budget and even spoke in comparison to other districts.
“As a district, we’re very financially healthy, we’re in a good spot,” he said. “The budget’s not growing in an alarming rate – at the same time, it’s growing to keep up with the needs to maintain an efficient and effective curricular structure within the school district.”
In other news:
- Gary Finger, the regional manager for the New Jersey Clean Energy program, gave a presentation at the meeting. He provided the board with information on how it can have the buildings in the district fitted with more efficient electronics, for example LED lights or new HVAC systems. These upgrades could save the school district tens of thousands of dollars per year, according to Finger’s presentation. Through the program, the state will pay for 70 percent of all qualified upgrades, up to $125,000. South Jersey Gas, a partner to the program, will finance the remaining 30 percent at zero percent interest up to $53,571. No action was taken on Finger’s presentation.
The next board of education meeting is scheduled for June 6 at 7 p.m. at Williamstown High School. This meeting is open to the public.