Extra $23,000 State Aid Set Aside in River Edge Schools Budget
Taxpayers can expect a $70 increase from River Edge school budget
Facing savings residents $4 per house, the River Edge Board of Education opted to place the additional $23,000 in state aid into the $15,658,231 budget on Wednesday night. The budget, which comes in at the 2% tax levy cap of $13,508,217, calls for a $70 increase to the average homeowner.
Board members initially debated returning the additional funding to homeowners but felt that the $4 per taxpayer would not yield enough of an impact over setting it aside to help with the upcoming state mandated teacher evaluations.
"I will say that when I came in here I was feeling that we should reduce the tax levy by that amount since we were ok," board member Mary Kay Buckley said. "We're never going to be fully funded. Personally if we were to not return it, I want to see it better aligned with some additional support for the new evaluation process."
Board members Wendy Walker and Colin Busteed were also in favor initially of returning the $23,000 to the taxpayers but agreed that if the district was to place the funding in the budget, the board should have more time to discuss about the best use for it.
"I'm OK with keeping the money but I want to be clear that we are flexible in how we use it," Walker said. "When you look at a $15 million budget, $20,000 is not a lot."
The extra state aid, which was granted to the district under a new state aid category for under-adequacy, alloted those districts that were running below the state mandated per pupil cost to receive a percentage in funding back.
The funding has been placed in the district's in instructional and instructional support line items but the final decision on how the $23,000 will be used is not expected until a later date.
The 2013-14 budget also includes adding more indoor securitycameras in the schools, replacing an exterior door from the Cherry Hill attic to the roof, replacement interior classroom doors, continuing the boiler refurbish program, replacing several hot water heaters and expanding the Building Connections program for a full Pre-K through sixth grade program.
The district will also move ahead on one of two major building projects at Chery Hill and either remove contained asbestos or replace a large area of roofing through $475,000 in capital funding. Board members will decide which building project to perform later this month.
The public hearing of the 2013-14 budget is scheduled for March 27, 7:30pm at Cherry Hill.