WESTFIELD, NJ – Taking the last step in approving the succeeding school year’s budget, the Westfield Board of Education adopted the 2016-17 budget and tax levy Tuesday.

Receiving no public inquiry, the board unanimously ushered in the approved $106,137,581 budget (with an operating budget of $100,156,197) for next school year. The now-final number sees a total 2.1 percent tax rate increase, with $9,438 going toward schools from the average homeowner in Westfield.

Board president Gretchan Ohlig also provided an update regarding the Westfield Soccer Association’s (WSA) request for lights at Kehler Field.

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After a letter to the board suggested that town approval was needed in order to erect temporary lights on their own property and subsequent hesitation was given after a court case referenced by the Kehler Neighborhood Preservation Association, the board stood by its original disposition.

“We’ve received confirmation that our position remains valid,” Ohlig said. “We do not, in fact, need the town’s approval to move forward. The town [of Westfield] concurs with our position. However, the delay has rendered the possibility of moving forward to vote. There is no point in us taking any steps this season.”

According to Ohlig, if the WSA or any other organization brings forth a similar proposal next year, it will fall first within the discretion of the facilities committee and then recommended to the board.

In other business, board members approved the appointment of all fall and winter coaching assignments for the 2016-17 year and the submission of a $19,195 grant application for the purposes of upgrading security from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

The next Westfield Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 10, at the elementary school of a selected Philhower award winning teacher, where the boys swim team will be honored for their championship season.