Education

Board of Ed. Introduces Preliminary Budget with $2.34M Increase in Local Tax Levy for 2017-18

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A screenshot of the 2017-18 Proposed School Budget, which was introduced by Business Administrator Deborah Saridacki on Thursday, March 16. Credits: Screenshot via Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Ed.
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Deborah Saridaki, Business Administrator for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood schoool district, presented the BOE's 2017-18 budget. Credits: John Mooney
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SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ – A preliminary operating budget $91.1 million for the 2017-18 school year was approved by the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education in a unanimous vote at its open agenda meeting on Thursday, March 16. The proposed budget calls for a total local tax levy more than $88 million, a $2.34 million increase over last year’s totals, despite a slight decrease in the debt service payment amount.

As a result, residents of Scotch Plains will see an annual tax impact of $180.41 per average home, a 2.22% increase. Meanwhile, Fanwood residents will be hit with an annual tax impact of $245.30 per average home, a 3.47% increase.

Salaries, which exceed $50 million, accounted for more than 55 percent of the operating budget and was marked by a $1.37 million increase in a year-to-year comparison. Benefits account for 21 percent of the budget. To download the budget presentation, click here.

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Annual enrollment in public schools has increased in each of the last two years with the biggest changes observed in the district’s elementary schools (2,210), which have increased in size by 73 students over that timeframe. However, the total six-year change has been relatively stagnant with an increase of three students in the district.

To account for the increase in enrollment at the elementary schools, the board proposes to hire one new kindergarten teacher and two elementary school teachers among the estimated half dozen new positions expected to be created for the next school year.

Among some of the other key initiatives supported by the proposed budget include:

  • Technology Priorities
    • Laptop refresh cycle
    • Expanding Chromebook carts
    • Network maintenance and updates
  • Professional Development
    • Teacher coaching and leadership programs
    • S.T.E.A.M. Unit Development
    • Professional Development Academy (summer and after-school programs)

State and federal aid will be $3,014,466, the same amount as last year.

The preliminary budget was submitted to Union County for review prior to the March 20 deadline. The Board of Education will have several public presentations (one with the PTA on Wednesday, April 5 and two on Wednesday, April 19) in advance of the final public hearing and adoption on Thursday, April 27.

There will not be a public vote on the budget because it falls within the state’s two percent property tax cap by-law.

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