Without comment, members of the the East Windsor Regional School District Board of Education unanimously adopted the district’s $88.7 million operating budget for the 2018-19 school year on April 30.
The $88.7 million budget represents a 1.1-percent increase over the 2017-18 operating budget of $87.8 million, according to district administrators.
The budget calls for raising $64.9 million in property taxes from residential and commercial property owners in East Windsor and Hightstown to support the spending plan for 2018-19. The 2017-18 budget raised $63.9 million in a local tax levy. The tax levy is split between the two municipalities based on a state-derived formula.
In East Windsor, the owner of a house assessed at the township average of $258,691 will pay $5,410 in school taxes in the upcoming year, which is a $9 increase over 2017-18.
In Hightstown, the owner of a house assessed at the borough average of $212,645 will pay $4,645 in school taxes in the upcoming year, which is $34 less than 2017-18, according to district administrators.
Other sources of revenue in the 2018-19 budget include $21.3 million in state aid, $1.3 million from surplus and reserve accounts, $997,837 from other sources, and $92,592 in federal aid.
School taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill. Property owners also pay municipal taxes and county taxes. The amount a property owners pays is determined in part by the assessed valuation of his property.
In the school district, salaries account for 60.2 percent of spending, followed by benefits, which amount to 18.6 percent of the budget. The salary portion increased by 2.1 percent and the cost of benefits went up by 9.8 percent, according to district administrators.
The budget includes several new teaching positions, including a special education teacher and an English as a Second Language teacher at the Melvin H. Kreps Middle School. A special education teacher and a biology teacher will be hired for Hightstown High School.
There is also money in the budget for a speech therapist and two grades K-2 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) teachers for the Walter C. Black and Ethel McKnight elementary schools.
The budget also allocates money to fully implement the Hightstown High School Chromebook initiative. Every student will receive a Chromebook laptop computer for use at home and school, beginning in September.
New textbooks for high school-level Spanish will be purchased, along with new textbooks for pre-calculus, calculus, Advanced Placement psychology and world history courses. Novels for English Language Learners in grades six through 12 will be purchased.