NEWTON, NJ—The Newton Board of Education voted to approve the new budget at the April 26 meeting, after a final run through by Business Administrator, Donna Snyder.
The Operating budget, the funding used to run the school district, including current expenses, capital outlay and charter schools came to a total of $26,954,124, an increase of $431,736 over last year.
The largest increases include an additional $246,680 for health benefits costs, $295,000 for Newton High School parking lot milling and paving, $92,000 for masonry repairs to Newton High School.
Additionally, a Special Education/Reading teacher will be added to Merriam Avenue School. Summer services for students will cost the district $66,092 more next year.
The budget does not include any new expenditures for Technology or Equipment.
Several areas of the budget show decreases from this year including Administration, Operations, Capital Outlay. The most significant decreases are $58,190 for transportation and $30,290 for Charter School.
The tax levy increase remained at two percent, as required by law. Most of the expenditures are mandated either through contractual agreements or state requirements.
The value of the average home in Newton decreased slightly to $187,639, making the school tax increase to $75 on average per home.
The school budget will generate $40,161 in ‘banked cap.’ This banked cap funding has been generated by the extraordinary increase to health benefits costs, as established by the state. Rather than exceed cap, as permitted, the board elected to establish the banked cap for use in future budgets. These funds will be available for the next two years to be added to the budget to exceed the two percent levy cap if necessary.
A bright spot highlighted in the budget presentation is the expected bond refunding, anticipated to take place in April. Favorable market conditions lead the district’s bond counsel to estimate a savings of $1 million to be realized in the 2017-2018 year’s debt service liability.