GREEN BROOK, NJ – Green Brook Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard Labbe announced that the district’s preliminary annual budget would fall by slightly more than $200,000. The $19.97 million budget reflects a 1 percent decrease from the previous year, and will cover all primary and middle school education for the eastern Somerset County Community.
The decrease is partially due to an increase in state aid of $26,900 and “miscellaneous revenue” of almost $360,000.
“In the new world of public education we have to find innovative ways to raise revenue beyond collecting taxes,” said Labbe. “We’ve been increasing our efforts to fundraise by renting out our facilities, taking advertising for events and print materials and other methods to maintain a reasonable tax rate.”
Labbe said the school district is also considering asking local businesses to advertise on school busses, similar to the way NJ Transit does. The district operates its own bus service, and so would receive all revenue from such ads for future budgets. Such ads are not included in revenues in the current budget since they have not been decided upon.
The state aid increase is to offset implementation costs for the new mandatory “Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers” (PARCC) test regime that will start next year. PARCC is an online assessment that replaces the current New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) for grades three through eight. The district could have simply accepted the testing grant and included it as revenue, but the Board’s finance committee decided it was more important to use it to reduce taxes.
There are still votes to come until the budget is finalized, but Labbe is hopeful the reduction will be official and reflected in the schools tax rate.