BRICK – The Board of Education approved a tentative budget of $155,146,126 in a special meeting that only lasted minutes. The introduced budget is supported by a tax levy of $109,258,129, said school business administrator James Edwards.
Last year’s tax levy was about $104.7 million, so the levy would be increased by nearly $4.5 million for the 2018-2019 school year budget.
The spending plan calls for $2,234,334 repayment of debt service.
The tentative budget, which would most likely change before its final adoption, is $724,426 more than last year’s budget of $154,421,700, mostly due to contractual benefits and two large facilities projects planned for the 2018-2019 school year, Edwards said.
The first is the estimated $1.38 million roof replacement at Drum Point Elementary School, and and the second large facilities project is $1 million earmarked for security enhancements to school vestibules.
“We already have our architect working on the vestibules, and the assembly passed a bill the other day that mandates strobe lights and other security enhancements that still have to go through the senate,” said acting superintendent of schools Dennis Filippone after the meeting. “So if I were a betting man I’d say it’s going to cost more than $1 million.”
The budget includes a 2.1 percent increase over last year’s state funding, or $36,055,619, which includes an increase of about $755,000, but Filippone said “they put it in one pocket and took it out of the other pocket.”
He explained that Brick schools got adjustment aid that makes up for a gap between whatever is considered a deficiency in state funding and the tax levy number, which was less than last year.
The tentative budget also includes a health care adjustment of some $1.67 million, Edwards said.
School districts are mandated to stay below a state-mandated 2 percent cap, but may utilize “banked cap,” from previous years when the school budget increased by less than 2 percent, he said.
Approximately $1,129,454 of the banked cap is included in this spending plan, which means the tax levy is 4.28 percent, or 2.28 percent higher than the 2 percent cap, the business administrator said.
The proposed budget must be approved by the county superintendent of schools before it is finalized.
As of press time, district officials did not yet have the figure on how much more the average resident would be paying in taxes.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Professional Development Center (PDC) located in the Veterans Complex.
The special meeting was preceded by a 30-minute executive session when board members discussed superintendent contract negotiations.
Filippone said they would announce the new superintendent during the regularly-scheduled April 12 Board of Education meeting to be held at 7 p.m. at the PDC.