CHATHAM, NJ - Flat state aid, increased enrollment and high health insurance costs are the three key factors affecting the 2017-2018 School District of the Chathams budget, according to the presentation given by Superintendent Dr. Michael LaSusa during an open finance meeting held Monday night.
LaSusa presented the trimmed-down version of the budget, which lowered the proposed budget from a 3.09 percent tax increase to 2.87 percent. The public hearing and board approval of the budget is set for May 1.
Chatham's direct state aid has decreased 33 percent since the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) of 2008. LaSusa pointed out that while some districts, such as Randolph, have seen its state aid drop by nine percent, Chatham's decrease has been triple that, despite a 28 percent increase in enrollment over that same period. Chatham's health insurance cost for employees rose 14.5 percent.
Dr. Michael LaSusa gives a primer on state aid funding in video below
Chatham's has an enrollment of 4,154 and will raise $61,719,108 through taxes, an average of $14,858 per student.
The 2.87 percent increase will raise taxes in Chatham Borough $274.40 for the year on an average home assessed at $670,694. The yearly increase for Chatham Township residents will be $251.20 on a home assessed at $792,971.
The budget does include an additional counselor for Chatham High School, which is projected to add 50 students over its current total next year.
Chatham resident Pam Polemeni makes a case for part-time staff at the Southern Boulevard Library to be maintained and not cut from the budget in vide below