HomeEast Brunswick SentinelEB NewsMilltown school budget includes funding for staff, supplies

Milltown school budget includes funding for staff, supplies

Staff Writer

MILLTOWN — Addressing assessments needed in the district, the 2016-17 school budget carries an annual $102 tax increase, or $8.50 per month, for the owner of an average home assessed at $163,000.

The Board of Education approved the $16.17 million budget earlier this month, which is up about $300,000 from last year’s budget.

The general fund tax levy increased by 2.46 percent from last year to $14,362,007 and the debt service decreased by $65,942.

State aid increased by $15,801 to $1,145,276; however, Schools Superintendent Stephanie Brown said the district, like many other school districts in the state, is still underfunded.

The general education line of the budget, which includes teacher supplies, totals $4.4 million; sending students to Spotswood High School costs the district $4.3 million; special education in-district totals $1.6 million; employee benefits total $1.8 million; facilities maintenance and operations total $1.04 million; special education out of district totals $994,760; district operations total $966,159; transportation totals $644,000; co-curricular/athletics totals $207,012; and health services total $134,436.

School Business Administrator Norma Tursi said the Spotswood High School tuition line includes a $197,225 adjustment from the 2014-15 school year. The tuition cost per pupil is $15,200.

Some 269 students are projected to attend Spotswood High in the 2016-17 school year. Currently there are 289 students who attend the school.

Brown said the Spotswood school district has been working cooperatively with the district while officials worked on its budget.

The budget also includes a charter school line that totals $64,181 for the five students who attend Hatikvah International Academy Charter School in East Brunswick. Tursi said the number of students attending Hatikvah is increasing by one the next school year. The tuition cost per pupil is $12,836.

The budget drivers include instruction technology and facilities.

Due to student population shifts next school year, there will be reorganization in instruction — the third grade will increase to four sections, the fourth grade will reduce to three sections and the fifth grade will increase to four sections.

There will be an addition of a Parkview School in-class resource teacher, the special services department secretary will become a full-time position and a part-time school counselor will be added.

After years of needing to address the world language curriculum in the district, the budget includes an additional world language teacher for Joyce Kilmer Middle School and Parkview School. Brown said the teacher will bring a fresh look to the world language curriculum.

Fourth- and fifth-grade science materials, literacy assessment and intervention kits, and parent involvement programs are also included in the budget.

Brown said the district received high marks for its family science program and is currently thinking about what to do next year involving parents at each grade level.

There was a Chromebook initiative last year, and Brown said in order to sustain what was implemented in terms of hardware, there needs to be an upgrade of wireless access points.

Also included in the budget are battery back-ups, a projector installation at Parkview and Joyce Kilmer, tablet devices for kindergarten to second grade, software for a literacy pilot program for fourth grade and fifth grade, and an ALEKS (Assessment and Learning) program for middle school math.

The budget supports facility upgrades that include classroom shelving/cabinets at Parkview School for the music and art teachers, who currently share one classroom, and additional parking at Joyce Kilmer by moving the current storage pods to a different spot on the school property.

The security monitoring system will be upgraded,, and ID badges and scanners will be purchased. Brown said officials are currently looking at several different quotes for the ID badges and scanners, which are budgeted in the capital outlay portion of the budget totaling $103,841.

Board President Bill Petscavage said board members read through the needs assessment survey filled out by parents and guardians in the district “with a fine toothed comb.”

“In the past, we were able to do a lot,” he said, noting that the major concerns that have been in the needs assessment have been the world language curriculum and establishing a full-day kindergarten-like program.

This year, Petscavage said, the district is able to address some of those concerns with the addition of a world language teacher.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@gmnews.com.

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