School budget introduced in Millstone

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MILLSTONE – The Millstone Township K-8 School District Board of Education has introduced a $38.7 million budget that will fund the operation of the district during the 2018-19 school year.

Following a discussion among district administrators and board members, the budget was introduced on March 26. A public hearing is scheduled for April 30. The budget, which may be revised until that time, may be adopted by the board following the public hearing.

The $38.7 million budget will be supported by a tax levy of $31.6 million to be paid by the township’s residential and commercial property owners. Other revenue includes $376,544 from the district’s surplus fund (savings) and $5.2 million in state aid (up from $4.8 million in 2017-18).

The school district’s 2017-18 budget totaled $38.2 million and was supported by a tax levy of $31.3 million. The average home was assessed at $531,160 and the school tax rate was $1.71 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of that home paid $9,082 in school taxes.

For 2018-19, the school tax rate will decrease to $1.68 per $100 and the average home assessment is estimated at $534,657. The owner of that home will pay $8,982 in school taxes, a decrease of $100.

With the projected change in the tax rate, if a home was assessed at $500,000 for 2017-18 and is still assessed at $500,000 for 2018-19, the school taxes will decrease from $8,550 to $8,400. If a home was assessed at $500,000 for 2017-18 and is assessed at $515,000 for 2018-19, the school taxes will increase from $8,550 to $8,652.

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.

“I am grateful for the support of the board in adopting this preliminary budget,” Superintendent of Schools Christopher Huss said. “They are a thoughtful and responsible governing body that balances fiscal responsibility with meeting the needs of the students. That is clearly evident in the several months of work that went into examining our costs and our needs and getting us to this point.

“The preliminary budget … maintains many progressive programs, such as our STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) courses, student-chosen electives at the Millstone Township Middle School, a robust music and performing arts program, and stellar curriculum across the board,” Huss said. “While there may still be some additional work to do on refining the budget for final approval, the funding for the 2018-19 school year is coming together nicely.”

The school district operates three facilities – the Millstone Township Primary School, the Millstone Township Elementary School and the Millstone Township Middle School. An agreement between Millstone Township and the Upper Freehold Regional School District allows Millstone Township students of high school age to attend Allentown High School.