New Providence School District presented the 2020-2021 budget at the regularly scheduled meeting of the New Providence Board of Education on Wednesday, April 29th, 2020. Board member Joseph Walsh outlined the goals of the 2020-2021 budget, which addressed key factors such as curriculum, staffing, security and facilities. The goals of the proposed budget are to meet the demand for quality educational programs and expand learning opportunities for all students while staying within the State’s cap requirements, review and analyze staffing needs, maximize operational efficiencies, continue to enhance security, facilities and equipment, consider burden on taxpayers and finally maintain the culture of the District.
Mr. Walsh adds “Based on the approved fiscal year 2021 budget, the 2020 school taxes for the average home in New Providence will decrease $11 or .13%. The District continues to focus on expenses and budgeting for only what we need as a district considering curriculum, student development, technology and capital items needed to serve the district and the community. Our allocated state aid for fiscal year 2021 is approximately $1.8M, which is an increase from approximately $1.6M in fiscal year 2020. With the uncertain times we are in, we are going to continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on the safety and economy in the community and react as needed to any potential reduction in state aid or other considerations that need to be balanced recognizing the needs of the school district and taxpayers.”
Budget highlights touch on new staff positions, technology capabilities and accessibility, as well as capital expenditures and facilities enhancements. Several Department Head positions will be created or reinstated. A Math Department Head for Grades K-6 will be added, to complement and partner with the current Grades K-6 Department Head for Language Arts. The Visual/Practical Arts Department Head position and the World Languages Department Head position will be reinstated after budget cuts eliminated the stand-alone positions in 2010.
The Proposed Operating Budget Total is $42,992,911. Approximately 80% of the total budget is allocated to Classroom Instruction, including employee benefits and instructional support. The remaining 20% of the total budget is divided into the categories of Operations/Maintenance, School Administration, Transportation, Business/Technology, General Administration and Capital expenses.
It is important to note that the Total Ratables for 2020 is $1,443,144,050. This is an increase of $32,151,744 over 2019. Tax ratables are property assessment values that are used to calculate the amount of taxes paid by the property owners of a community. The property assessment and a tax rate, which is based on the yearly school, municipal and county budgets, are used to calculate the annual property tax amount. In 2020, a New Providence home with an average market value of $626,137 will see a tax decrease of $11 or .13%.
The 2020/2021 Proposed Budget was developed prior to schools moving to remote instruction and the COVID-19 pandemic. The unknown impact and the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic may potentially require the District to modify the budget plan, adjusting revenues, expenditures and priorities. If New Jersey’s state aid allocation is changed or the State puts forth new operational mandates, the District will have to review all District expenditures.