MARLBORO – The Marlboro K-8 School District Board of Education has adopted a budget for the 2018-19 school year that totals $92.3 million and will be supported by a tax levy of $76.4 million to be paid by Marlboro’s residential and commercial property owners.
The 2017-18 budget totaled $91.2 million and was supported by a tax levy of $74.9 million.
The 2018-19 budget was adopted during a board meeting on April 24 in a 5-4 vote.
On a motion to adopt the budget, board President Robyn Wolfe, Vice President Randy Heller and board members Anisha Gizersky, Stephen Shifrinson and Susan Shrem voted “yes.”
Board members Robert Daniel, Dara Enny, Vlad Goldfarb and Ellen Xu voted “no.”
“I think we had a better process this year than last year, but I think there were a few things we could have done to slow the rate of tax increases and be consistent,” Daniel said.
“It’s the same thing we mentioned when we tentatively adopted the budget,” Goldfarb said. “I appreciate (Business Administrator) Cindy (Barr-Rague) and (Superintendent of Schools) Dr. (Eric) Hibbs and the work they put into this, but I’m voting no because I think we could have slowed the rate of increase and it puts us in a tough position moving forward.”
Barr-Rague said the tax levy has increased due to contracted increases in salaries and benefits.
District administrators said medical, prescription and dental benefits costs for the 2018-19
school year total $14.49 million. This includes the mandatory health benefits contributions
from employees in accordance with state law. Staff contributions are determined by their
respective negotiated agreements.
Marlboro will receive $11.69 million in state aid in 2018-19, which is a $270,000 increase from 2017-18. The 2018-19 budget will use $315,622 from surplus funds (savings) as revenue.
The K-8 school tax rate is projected to increase from $1.044 per $100 of assessed valuation in 2017-18 to $1.062 per $100 in 2018-19, according to Barr-Rague.
In 2017, the average home assessment in Marlboro was $494,179 and the owner of that home paid $5,158 in K-8 school taxes. In 2018, the average home assessment is $493,926 and the owner of that home will pay $5,245, an increase of $87.
The owner of a home that was assessed at $350,000 in 2017 paid $3,654 in K-8 school taxes. If that individual’s home is still assessed at $350,000 in 2018, the taxes will be $3,717.
The owner of a home that was assessed at $600,000 in 2017 paid $6,264 in K-8 school taxes. If that individual’s home is still assessed at $600,000 in 2018, the taxes will be $6,372.
School taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, Marlboro municipal taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes, a fire district tax and other assessments.
The 2018-19 budget includes the addition of eight special Class III police officers to be located at each of the district’s schools; the addition of two board certified behavior analysts, which will allow the district to address the behavior needs of identified special education students; and the addition of two English language arts reading specialists, which will allow the district to be compliant with Quality Single Accountability Continuum and to complete the Response To Intervention philosophy at the middle schools, according to the board; capital improvements at various schools; the replacement of five 54-passenger buses and two 16-passenger vans.
Barr-Rague said administrators are anticipating an enrollment of 4,806 pupils in 2018-19. The current enrollment in the district is 4,869 pupils. As recently as the 2009-10 school year, the district’s enrollment stood at 5,962 pupils.