Education

New Providence School Tax Hike Cut by $20; Increased State Aid Will Allow Completion of Bleacher Project

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Additional state aid will allow the New Providence Board of Education to complete a football field bleacher project all at once. Credits: TheAlternativePress.com
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NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Additional state aid will allow the New Providence Board of Education to complete a football field bleacher project all at once, board secretary and business administrator James Testa said Tuesday.

And the proposed annual property tax increase has been trimmed by $20, he added.

The school board on Monday reviewed the proposed 2012-2013 school board before sending it to the Joseph Passiment, Monmouth Executive. County School Business Administrator, who handles the job’s tasks in Union County.

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Testa said the district was told it would receive $841, 924 in state aid this year, roughly $196,924 more than it was anticipating.
The preliminary budget that was discussed two weeks ago included approximately $645,000 in state aid.

The proposed 2012-13 operating budget is $35,626,115, an increase of $3.4 million. The proposed tax levy is $32,399,731, up $1.67 million from 2011-2012.

Testa said the earlier budget included a proposed yearly property tax increase of $106 for the school year, half, or $53, billed in in the second half of 2012, and the rest billed in the first half of 2013.

The school board will apply half of the state aid increase to tax relief, Testa said. That would cut the proposed annual tax increase to $86, he added.

The other half will be applied to the repairs of all the bleachers at the high school football field, Testa said.

“This is a safety issue,” he said. An insurance audit cited the long-overdue repair, he said.

Originally the board planned to repair the home bleachers this year and the visiting bleachers next year.

In its discussion two weeks ago, the board cited other factors in the 2012-2013 budget that drive operating costs higher: the addition of full-time elementary employee to address increased enrollment; changing two part-time employees to full-time to serve special needs students; reverting the assistant superintendent’s post to full time, after being reduced to an 80 percent post last year.

In addition, there is an 18 percent increase in health care costs. The district‘s final cost increase is expected to be 10.8 percent, because employees are contributing to their own health care costs.

The district also anticipates an increase of $290,000 to send 40 students to the county’s magnet school.

One cost reduction will become evident when the solar panel installation at the high school is complete. That project will reduce the electric bill by $18,000.

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