WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The overall tax levy increase for 2017-18 according to the budget that was adopted at the Caldwell-West Caldwell (CWC) Board of Education meeting on Monday will be 2.54 percent.

CWC Business Administrator Thomas Lambe, who presented the budget at the meeting, explained that the refunding of the 2007 bonds at a lower interest rate caused a slight decrease to the overall impact.  All major educational programs will be maintained for 2017-18, he said.

The impact on taxpayers in Caldwell and West Caldwell differs due to the equalized valuations. Because West Caldwell’s valuations increased by 6.79 percent in 2017 and Caldwell’s decreased by 2.02 percent, the portion of the school budget tax levy paid by West Caldwell will increase and the portion paid by Caldwell will decrease. 

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Including debt service, therefore, the average priced home in Caldwell will see a decrease of $410 and the average priced home in West Caldwell will see an increase of $295 for the 2017-18 school year.

Lambe also noted that the average annual growth rate of the school budget tax levy from 2010-11 to 2017-18 has been 2.13 percent. In addition, the CWC school district has the seventh-lowest cost per pupil, as well as the seventh-lowest administrative cost per pupil, in Essex County.

One of the main sources of savings in the 2017-18 budget is in the area of transportation, according to Lambe. He explained that as the cost of outsourced bus transportation has increased, the district has found ways to save money by implementing more student transportation with district-owned buses and district-employed bus drivers.