By KAYLA J. MARSH
ABERDEEN — The Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District Board of Education has adopted a $68.4 million budget for the 2016-17 school year.
In an interview May 2, Superintendent Joseph Majka said the budget highlights new programs and initiatives, as well as equipment and supply needs, staffing needs, new extracurricular activities and technological advances and infrastructure updates coming to the district.
New programs and initiatives include Naviance College & Career Readiness tools for middle school students, new Visual & Performing Arts Academy offerings and a new Global Humanities Academy at Matawan Regional High School, a new Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles Course at the high school, the implementation of Power Solving Social Skills Curriculum for students, as well as an Algebra I and English Honors “Sneak Peek” summer program, which, Majka said, “gives students an opportunity to see if they have an interest going into eighth grade for those subjects over the summer.”
The district will look to bring in a new mathematics teacher and English teacher at the high school, a Gifted & Talented (program) teacher at the third grade level, after-school Homework Club advisors, a Child Study Team Behaviorist and Child Study Team Behaviorist and an additional Math BSI teacher at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School.
In the technology and infrastructure department, the district is looking to provide additional Chromebooks for Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School and Matawan Regional High School to support the 1:1 technology initiative, as well provide 3D printers for the middle school and Lloyd Road Elementary School.
In the coming school year, plans include the district getting a new kiln for the ceramics program at the high school, a new golf cart for the athletic trainer, pole vault equipment for the high school, restriping the track at the high school, replacing wall pads in the high school’s gymnasium, repairing an exterior ramp at Lloyd Road, replacing flooring throughout the district, replacing burglar alarms at five schools, partial roof replacement at Strathmore Elementary School, various exterior door replacements and renovation of the Home Economics room at the high school, purchasing additional surveillance cameras and purchasing two new transportation vehicles to replace older, outdated vehicles.
A public hearing on the budget was held at the board’s April 25 meeting, but no member of the school community or board came forward with any questions, comments or concerns.
The total budget for the 2016-17 school year is $68,389,585. The budget for the current 2015-16 school year is $68,372,252.
The 2016-17 budget includes a tax levy of $52,468,141. The tax levy is the total amount of money that property owners in Matawan and Aberdeen will pay to support the operation of the school district from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. The tax levy for 2015-16 is $50,521,606.
Interim Business Administrator, Thomas M. Venanzi said the school tax rate in Matawan for 2016-17 will be $1.63 per $100 of assessed value. That means the owner of a home assessed at the borough average of $315,400 will pay about $5,141 in school taxes over the next year.
The school tax rate in Aberdeen Township for 2016-17 will be $1.72 per $100 of assessed value, according to the business administrator. That means the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $273,144 will pay about $4,697 in school taxes over the next year.
The increase in school taxes is less than $25 for Matawan residents and less than $16 for Aberdeen residents, according to budget figures presented to the board.
District officials said the proposed school budget is in compliance with state law and residents will not vote on the spending plan.