Mantua BOE adopts new budget, taxes payments to decrease

Mantua taxpayers can see an average annual decrease of $26.50.

The Mantua Township Board of Education adopted its 2019-2020 budget on May 6 following a public hearing. The budget calls for a decrease in local school district taxes.

The new budget raises taxes by 1 percent, however Superintendent Robert Fisicaro said it results in a decrease from homeowners. For an average assessed home of $204,500, this equates to roughly a $26.50 annual decrease.

No changes were made to the budget as originally reported in the April 17 issue of The Mantua Sun.

“Our debts continued to decrease, the preschool expansion aid has offset some of the costs that were funded by the local budget, we are losing $92,000 in state aid, but we also saw an increase in ratables,” said Fisicaro in the April 8 board meeting. “Total Turf had a five-year abatement on their property that has now expired.”

Fisicaro said the budget will largely fund the district’s initiative to introduce a more thorough mental health education for the students, improve school safety and promote students’ ownership of learning. The state passed a statute for all public school districts to further educate students on the issue, effective September 2020.

In a letter to district families provided to The Sun, Fisicaro said, in part, that “we are very proud, but not satisfied. Soon we will be embarking on a new ‘Vision 2025’ where we will have more opportunities to create the future, collectively innovate, and invest in our greatest resource – our children.”

The district, he added, is still losing $95,000 in state aid, but the tax increase helps offset it.

Additionally, because debt will be coming off, the district will be exploring a bond referendum of up to about $11 million to make Sewell School ADA-compliant and upgrade classrooms, as well as complete repair roofs and all-purpose rooms at J. Mason Tomlin and Centre City elementary schools.

“This bond referendum would make a fiscally responsible path forward for major construction and district improvements with no tax impact,” he said in the letter. “A full communication plan regarding the goals of the upcoming bond will be developed by the summer of 2019 for a potential vote in December.”

The $20.1 million budget is available to view on the district’s website at MantuaSchools.com.