By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – The Millstone Township K-8 School District Board of Education has adopted a $37.5 million budget that will pay for the operation of the school district during the 2016-17 school year.
The budget will be supported by a tax levy of $30.9 million to be paid by Millstone’s residential and commercial property owners, plus $4.99 million in state aid and $609,863 from the district’s surplus funds (savings), according to information provided by the district.
District administrators said the budget for the upcoming school year includes the first increase in school taxes in five years.
The district’s 2015-16 budget totaled $37.95 million and was supported by a tax levy of $30.1 million. The average home was assessed at $496,600, the school tax rate was $1.74 per $100 of assessed valuation and the owner of that home paid $8,641 in school taxes.
For 2016-17, property owners as a whole will pay $800,000 more in school taxes as the tax levy reaches $30.9 million. The school tax rate will decrease to $1.66 per $100 of assessed valuation, but the average home is now assessed at $532,000 and the owner of that home will pay $8,831 in school taxes over the next 12 months – an increase of $190, according to information provided by district administrators.
School taxes are one component of a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, Millstone Township municipal taxes, a fire district tax and other assessments. Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property.
District administrators said the budget for the upcoming school year will feature Go Math, a K-5 math program that will replace the existing program, Everyday Math.
Board President Margaret Gordon, Vice President Kevin McGovern and board members Amy Jacobson, David DePinho, John Sico, Melissa Riviello, Billy Hanson and Cynthia Bailey voted to adopt the budget during a recent meeting.
Board member Sal Casale abstained from the vote, having just been appointed to fill an open seat on the panel.
“This year, the Millstone board and administration maintained our focus on three important themes and one main umbrella,” Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder said. “The themes were to maintain a competitive and strong program for students that is designed with program efficacy in mind as well as program sustainability, being enrollment conscious and fiscal responsibility.
“The umbrella to all of this was to create the best schools for our students, which in turn is one of the key reasons why Millstone is such an attractive town for people to bring their families. This was noted in a recent listing which ranked both Millstone Township and Millstone schools as the top town and school district for families in the county.
“Overall, as a superintendent, it is so much appreciated to have a board which strives to balance outstanding programming for kids while managing the tax base,” Feder said. “Although the school tax will rise for the first time in five years, we all worked very hard to manage the increase to have the smallest impact possible while sustaining the high-level programming Millstone is known to offer its students. Our community deserved nothing less.”