WOOD-RIDGE, NJ -- Maintaining the current curricula and co-curricular programs, adding a third Pre-School Disabled class, five Kindergarten classes, new textbooks and a half time World Language teacher for Kindergarten to sixth grade were some of the highlights in the 2020-21 school year budget presented at the Wood-Ridge Board of Education meeting held Monday night held online. Upwards of 20 people were in attendance, including Board members, school administrators, and members of the public. Jenine Murray, Board Administrator, made the presentation.
Some of the fiscal management methods the district is incorporating includes:
- Reducing the out-of-district placements by offering services in district;
- Align funds to district and school strategic plans and goal;
- Continuing to maximize shared services and partnerships with the Borough and other school districts.
Murray also touted some of the district's successes including the addition of the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Institute, the continuing Science and Technology Academy, new Advanced Placement (AP) classes, the graduation rate increasing from 90.8 to 92.4 percent, and high school facility upgrades.
The bulk of the revenue comes from local taxes, along with tuition from Moonachie, state aid, federal and state grants.
The budget for the 2020-21 school year is projected to be $23,636,429. Expenses are broken into seven categories: Direct Student Services, Administrative Costs, Plant Costs, Employee Benefits, State and Federal Projects, Debt Service, and Capital Expenditures. Nieves explained that the "majority of the money is spent on students" at 64.1 percent of the total budget. The next highest cost is employee benefits, at 14.7 percent, a decrease from last year, and next highest administrative costs at 11.6 percent.
The impact on local residents will lead to an increase of $77 on the average assessed home value of $350,000.
The complete presentation will be posted on the Wood-Ridge School District website.
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