WESTFIELD, NJ — The school board has unanimously approved the district’s $111 million budget for the 2020-21 academic year.
The board members voted 9-0 in favor of the budget, funded in part by $103 million in local tax revenue and $6 million in state aid, during a virtual board meeting Tuesday night.
The district will receive just under $6 million in state aid for the upcoming school year (including roughly $5 million in regular aid and $975,000 in extraordinary aid). This reflects an increase of roughly $734,000 over last year’s figures.
However, this aid figure may not be final. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state of New Jersey’s fiscal year was extended from June 30 to Sept. 30.
“The state aid for school districts will not be final until the state adopts their final budget so it is possible that state aid could change,” Business Administrator Dana Sullivan told TAPinto Westfield. “I don’t have any other information about it.”
“If the state changes the state aid figures it may impact the 20-21 budget,” Sullivan said. “We probably won’t know that information until September.”
School taxes for the owner of a Westfield home assessed at the town's average value will increase by $141. The owner of the home assessed at $795,159 is projected to pay $10,225.744 school taxes this year based on a school tax rate of $1.269 per $100 of assessed valuation, Sullivan said earlier this month.
The district’s tentative budget was sent to the county in March, following approval from the board earlier that month. The proposed budget, introduced in February, showed a $1.06 million gap between anticipated revenues and costs.
This gap was partly lessened by increases in state aid to the district announced in March. Reductions to transportation, technology, and special education spending, as well as the elimination of an unfilled health and wellness coordinator position, amount to roughly $884,000 in cuts made by the district to close the gap.
Meanwhile, the district’s largest spending increase is $1.75 million in staff salaries. Staff layoffs, which were discussed as a potential cost-saving move in February, are no longer being considered, Sullivan told TAPinto Westfield.
Additional increases in district spending include those for transportation costs, which is the result of a national shortage of bus drivers, as well as costs for special education and health insurance.
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