SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- The Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District unveiled its 2019-2020 budget totalling slightly more than $95 million at the Board of Education (BOE) on Thursday, March 15, meeting. The budget, prepared by district's business administrator Debbie Saridaki, includes a 2 percent increase in spending, but no special options that could have put the total above the 2 percent spending cap.
More than $91 million of the $95 million total budget comes from the local property tax levy. Slightly more than $4 million comes from the state, while the rest comes from other sources. Scotch Plains contributes a total of $71,947,781 toward the budget, while Fanwood contributes $20,601,717.
The budget includes $4,007,387 in actual state aid and $400,000 in "Extraordinary Aid" from the state. The final amount is never known until the end of the school year. The amount of state aid has gone up incrementally each year since 2010-11, when it plummeted to $659,090 from more than $4.3 million in 2009-2010.
The budgeting process included the following assumptions:
- Medical, dental and prescription benefits for SPFK12 employeese will be based on projections from the district's insurance consultant.
- Salary increases will reflect an amount equal to the aniticipated settlement for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Education Assocation (SPFEA), and the actual amount will be budgeted for all other staff.
- Staffing will be adjusted to reflect anticipated enrollment trends.
- Technology funding will remain at current levels.
Saridaki outlined the major expenses that go into operating the school district: salaries, special education services, transportation for students, custodial services, facility maintenance, benefits, instructional support services, utilities, and insurance. Enrollment in the district is about 5,700 students, an increase of just 34 students over last year. The budget proposes the addition of two elementary school teachers, one special ed teacher, three student aides, and part-time basic skills and speech teachers.
The budget has pulled $2.1 million from its capital reserve for projects including technology purchases, turf replacement on two fields, track resurfacing, and window replacement at School One.
The budget goes next to the Executive County Superintendent, our local state education official, and eventually to the NJ Department of Education approval, according to Superintendent Dr. Margaret Hayes.