WESTFIELD, NJ — The school district’s $111.214 million spending plan is anticipated to be adopted following a public hearing next week.

What’s in it? The total budget for the 2020-21 academic year will increase by $2.7 million dollars with around 82% of spending going to salaries for staff, school business administrator Dana Sullivan said. The tax levy is increasing by about $2.028 million to $103,448,805. The tax levy increase is projected to at 1.4%, Sullivan said.

What’s increasing? The largest spending increase is in staff salaries, Sullivan said. Additional increases include those for transportation costs, which is the result of a national shortage of bus drivers. In addition, costs for special education and health insurance are anticipated to rise, according to a budget presentation.

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What’s the tax impact? The owner of the home assessed at the town’s average value of $795,159 is projected to pay $10,225.744 school taxes this year based on a projected school tax rate of $1.269 per $100 of assessed valuation, according to Sullivan. The owner of a home assessed at the average value will see an increase of $141, she said.

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What about state aid? Total basic state aid is anticipated to rise by $724,434 to $5,005,708, a school budget presentation shows. It is the result of the state’s recently updated school district funding formula that is being phased in. “We’re happy to have the increase, but we’re still not quite where we would be if the formula were fully implemented,” Sullivan said.

What got cut? An initial draft of the budget showed a $1.06 million gap between anticipated revenues and costs. Sullivan last month said the district reduced its transportation spending, technology budget and eliminated funding for a recently created health and wellness coordinator position that had yet to be filled.

What’s next? A public hearing on the budget is slated for the school board’s Tuesday, April 28, meeting. Details for logging into the meeting via Webex will be announced.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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