School District Adopts $163M Budget

  BRICK – Members of the Brick Township Board of Education have voted to adopt a $163 million budget for the 2022-23 school year.

  According to district figures, the $163,322,838 budget will include a tax levy of $118,369,977, a .8% increase from the previous year. Tax levy supports the largest share of the budget, about 72%, as state aid continues to decline.

  “As I stated previously, our budget is very simple in that we don’t have much control over revenue sources. Our revenue can only go up $2.3 million with the mandated 2% tax levy cap,” Superintendent Thomas Farrell said at the March 15 Board of Education meeting. 

  Included in the 2022-23 budget is $145,203,645 of total general fund expenditures, Business Administrator James Edwards said during the budget presentation.

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  The resolution lists $18.8 million in special revenues for 2022-23, a $7.3 million increase from 2021-22. The bulk of that is $7.1 million for capital projects. This money comes from the Federal American Rescue Plan.

  Where will the money go? Instruction and Benefits make up 61% of all expenditures, up from 58% in 2021-2022.

  More services are being offered in-district, for special education. This has two impacts. One is that Out of District Tuition has decreased by 16.1%, and the cost of instruction increased by 4.2%. More teachers are being added to the elementary level to decrease class size, Edwards said.

  Debt Service went down by 69.2% as another referendum was fully paid in 2021-2022, he said.

  In March, Governor Phil Murphy proposed a spending plan that would increase funding to New Jersey public schools by $650 million.

  However, this was after the state Department of Education said the Brick School District would face a $4.7 million cut from state aid for the 2022-23 school year.

  Key factors affecting this year’s budget include reduction of state aid, staffing, special education programs and facilities, Farrell said.

  Due to the strains on the budget, minimal equipment will be replaced for technology, special services, facilities, transportation and more, Edwards said.

  Where will the money come from? Tax levy supports the largest share of the budget, 72.5%, as the State Aid continues to decline. State Aid reductions under S2 continues to impact the district with a loss of 19%.

  The district is set to receive $19,245,303 in aid, which is over $4 million less compared to the previous year. This will be the fifth year of state aid cuts due to the S-2 bill. 

  The law states that those districts who are not paying their “fair share” of property taxes will have their state aid slashed. Local towns have been fighting to get this funding back.

  Over these five years, the Brick Township School District has lost a total of over $20 million in aid.

  “We don’t have an expenditure problem, we have a revenue problem,” Farrell said. “We believe that we do more with less in brick township public 0schools than ever before and that’s attributed to our amazing staff.”