Education

Public Hearing Set for Monday on Livingston School District Budget

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LIVINGSTON, NJ – A public hearing on the proposed 2012-2013 school district budget is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday at Livingston High School.

The budget was recently revised to reflect an increase in state aid, which school officials say is very welcome, although still not anywhere near as much as the district used to receive.

The district will receive $1.835 million in state aid this year, an increase of $581,781.

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“We’re glad of that, of course, but in reality, it is still significantly lower than it should be,” said Steven Robinson, business administrator.

As with other school districts in the area, Livingston had to adjust its already-introduced budget to reflect the state aid. Robinson said the extra funds will be used for tax relief. The adjusted budget also shows additional debt service, capital revenues and the expected retirement of a district employee.

Under the new proposed budget, overall spending will go up 2.6 percent, or $2.66 million, from $101.6 million to $104.2 million. 

The proposed tax levy would go up 1 percent, or $885,760, from $95.1 million to $96.3 million. A homeowner with at home assessed at $601,877 would pay an additional $266 in taxes under the new budget. 

Robinson said the proposed budget includes some additional technology for the district and building repairs at all the schools. It also allows for the expansion of some academic programs, including the reinstitution of the world languages program for kindergarten through fifth grade.

The district’s special education program also will be expanded to include a transition autism program for kindergartners going into first grade, as well as an elementary and middle school autism program. The district also will be bringing some special education students back from out of district placements.

Robinson said enrollment at the high school will be increasing, so the budget reflects the addition of five faculty members. The world languages program will require two additional teachers and the expansion of the special education program will require the hiring of three teachers, a behaviorist, three aides and two part-time occupational therapists and speech therapists, he explained. In addition, the district will be removing the fee for the gifted and talented program.

While Monday’s meeting is a public hearing, there will be no public vote on the budget since state law now says no vote is required if the proposed budget is under the state cap.

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