NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — City schools plan to roll back spending in the preliminary budget for the 2017-18 school year, but that likely won’t keep taxes from rising.
The Board of Education this week approved a draft of the $201.5 million budget, which falls roughly $2 million short of the current spending plan.
As it stands now, the upcoming budget calls for nearly $30.2 million to be raised in local taxes, an increase of more than $1 million from this year, according to district documents.
Changes may still be made to the budget.
“This is once again a very tight budget,” Business Administrator Richard Jannarone said during the board meeting. “Our revenues are not increasing at the same pace that our expenses are, and we have a plan to continue to reduce expenses in order to match our lack of revenues.”
For the owner of a home assessed at the city average of $271,200, the tentative budget would yield a $32 tax increase for the year, Jannarone said. Most people would pay either less or more than that figure, depending on their property values.
State aid is slated to climb by about $263,000 to $124.6 million come next school year, according to the documents.
Of that, Jannarone said, $13,000 is earmarked for money paid by the district for students who attend charter schools. But charter school assignments could cost New Brunswick more than $600,000, he said.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for the board’s 6 p.m. March 23 meeting at New Brunswick High School. There, school officials will discuss their proposal and its details. Residents will also have a chance to ask questions and make comments.
Eventually, the public will have the opportunity to vote on the 2017-18 budget in the April 25 school elections.
New Brunswick is one of a few districts in the state to continue to hold school board elections in April. Most districts moved the contests to November, which also allows boards to forego public votes on the budget if increases to the amount of money collected from property taxes fall within a 2 percent cap, barring certain exemptions.
The preliminary budget proposes such an increase of nearly 4.4 percent, according to the document.