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Pending Legislation Would Release Schools from 2 Percent Cap for School Security

In the wake of the Newtown massacre, schools coping with upgrading security without going over the 2 percent cap may get relief from pending legislation.

In the wake of Newtown, schools everywhere are performing security audits and collaborating with local law enforcement to implement new security intitiatives.

The River Edge School district, which presented a preliminary budget in early Feburary, intends to install additional indoor secutiry cameras in the schools. Neither the Oradell nor River Dell Boards of Education have presented their potential 2013-14 school budgets at this time.

However, the question being asked by many Superintendents is how to implement new security measures and still stay within the 2 percent cap.

There is a bill pending in the Assembly, A3814, that would allow schools to go over the 2 percent cap for securiity expenditures without having to go to the voters for permission. The bill, introduced on Feb. 11, is sponsored by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D) representing Mercer and Middlesex Counties. 

The 2 percent property tax cap was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie in the summer of 2010. The law set a 2 percent cap on annual property tax hikes, effectively lowering the ceiling on county and municipal government and school district spending.

With certain exceptions, municipalities and school districts may increase their tax levies more than 2 percent, but only by approval from the voters.

This pending bill provides that any annual increase in expenditures on school security costs in excess of two percent incurred by a school district will be excluded from the limit.

The bill has been referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

Patch will be following the progression of this bill.

Alba Cilia February 24, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Great!! I wonder how many projects will fall under "security" so that school budgets can go over the 2% cap without taxpayer having any saying in the matter. I cannot believe that people are ok with this! Let me tell you what it means for you and me...even higher property taxes! Plus the politicians are taking away your rights to disagree with such budgets.
T February 28, 2013 at 05:03 PM
If you would like to question the school budgets,which are made available to the public, then you should really attend some board of education meetings in whichever town you live in and therefore can ask questions if you see something approved in the budget that doesn't meet your qualifications for security measures.

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