CHATHAM, NJ - Matthew Gilfillan, chairman of the finance committee and vice president of the Chatham Board of Education, said that every single student added by the proposed River Road Redevelopment Project will impact the Chatham Board of Education budget.

Chatham Township resident Gilfillan spoke during the public comment portion of the Special Joint Meeting of the Chatham Borough Planning Board and Borough Council on Thursday night.

The joint meeting was a community information session where the planning board, council and public got to review the design plans for the proposed 240 to 259 luxury apartments on River Road by BNE Real Estate Group. No formal action was taken at the meeting.

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"The big thing I want to make sure that you guys understand, and make sure the town understands and make sure the planning board understands and the council understands is that the ratables on this, and I'm going to use round numbers, if it goes from $1 million to $5 million, the school system doesn't get one new additional dollar. Zero. 

"You may sit there and say that 30 students, it doesn't sound like a lot and it's not going to have an impact. It has an impact on our schools, it has an impact on our budget. It is the way the formula is written, it is the way the law is written in terms of ratables. It is not a pro-rata number, it is a physical number. So please understand that every single new student we bring in has an impact on our school system because it's just basically less money that goes on an individual basis to the kids in town."

Matthew Gilfillan's full remarks can be seen in the video below

River Road Developer Jonathan Schwartz said that from his experience in building similar projects around the state that he projected 25 to 30 kids would be added to the student enrollment (see video below).

Chatham Borough resident Michael Dean said he wanted to see comparable statistics on student enrollment in the video below.