South Brunswick: Preliminary School District Budget Carries 6-Cent Tax Hike

Board of Education Vice President Dan Boyle, center, talks about the proposed $143.7 million district budget Monday night. Credits: Charles W. Kim

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – District officials unveiled its $143.7 million preliminary 2016-17 budget Monday night with a 6-cent per $100 of assessed valuation tax increase.

If approved as it is, that would mean a school tax increase of around $120 for the owner of a home assessed at $200,000.

“This current year’s budget will be seeing a two-percent increase, which is the (state) statutory maximum allowed,” Board of Education Vice President, and chairman of the budget committee Dan Boyle said during Monday night’s meeting.

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District Administrator Anthony Tonzini said the increase amounts to more than $2 million this year.

“This is only the third time in six years that the cap would be enacted,” Tonzini said.

The budget includes $132.6 million in the general fund, $2.4 million in the special revenue fund and another $8.6 million in debt service, according to the district.

A local tax levy assessment of $109.9 million would be implemented to pay the local share, Tonzini said.

He also said that state aid is slated to increase by more than $250,000 this year, if approved in Trenton.

“The budget maintains the current programs that exist, but does not expand or add anything new,” he said.

About $300,000 in new textbooks are planned to be purchased, laptop replacements in technology as well as capital projects that include a new roof for Greenbrook Elementary School, Tonzini said.

Tonzini said that administrative costs are $400 below other districts in the region at $1,900 as a maximum cost.

“A big part of this budget are fixed costs,” Board President Dr. Stephen Parker said. “The biggest part of our budget is personnel.”

Parker said that the board has been “working hard” to hold the line on budget spending and continues to “monitor” the district’s finances.

“We are watching the dollars,” Parker said.

Board members unanimously voted to tentatively approve the plan and send it to the Middlesex County Superintendent for approval.

Members Deven Patel and Barry Nathanson were absent from the meeting.

It will then come back to the district next month for a public hearing and final adoption, Tonzini said.

That may take place at the April 25 meeting, he said.

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