SOUTH AMBOY – The 2018-19 budget that has been adopted by the South Amboy Public Schools Board of Education contains a tax increase of about $140 for the owner of a home assessed at the city’s average.
During a meeting on April 30, board members unanimously adopted a budget totaling $18.45 million for the upcoming school year.
Business Administrator Peter Frascella said administrators are proposing to collect $10.09 million in taxes from the city’s residential and commercial property owners to support the budget. He said the school district will receive $6.74 million in state aid, the same amount as last year, and expects to use $158,747 from surplus funds (savings).
The school district’s 2017-18 budget totaled $18.26 million and was supported by a tax levy of $9.95 million.
Frascella said South Amboy’s school tax rate is projected to increase from $1.097 per $100 of assessed valuation to $1.149 per $100. The city’s average home assessment has decreased from $270,419 in 2017 to $270,104 in 2018.
In 2017-18, the owner of a home assessed at the city average paid about $2,966 in school taxes. In 2018-19, the owner of a home assessed at the city average will pay about $3,104 in school taxes, an increase of $138.
The amount of taxes a property owner pays is determined in part by the assessed value of his home and property. School taxes are one item on a tax bill, which also includes South Amboy municipal taxes and Middlesex County taxes.
Superintendent of Schools Jorge Diaz presented goals in the areas of Curriculum; Instruction; Technology; Assessment; School Safety and Security; and Facilities:
- Curriculum – The creation of behavioral development programs, expansion of pre-kindergarten, and funding for curriculum writing;
- Instruction – Funding for math resources for grades 3-8, and maintain current staffing levels;
- Technology – Purchase of more than 275 Chromebook laptop computers and purchase of replacement WiFi access points and equipment;
- Assessment – Continue to provide funding for the creation of benchmark assessments for grades 2-12;
- School Safety and Security – Enhance security measures at both schools;
- Facilities – New carpeting in auditorium and library at South Amboy Middle High School and new flooring cleaning equipment.
Frascella said district administrators are using a waiver to exceed the 2 percent tax levy cap by $54,000.
“The waiver is available due to the large increase in the cost of employee benefits the district received from the state health benefit program last year. The district will use those funds to pay for the various budget initiatives that were mentioned by Mr. Diaz at the public hearing,” Frascella said.
He said it is important to note that because the school district’s debt service tax levy decreased, the total tax levy increased by only 2 percent.
Frascella said administrators are anticipating an enrollment of 1,050 pupils for the 2018-19 school year. He said the number of staff members is expected to remain the same, but could increase based on need. The district educates pupils in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and operates two buildings: the South Amboy Elementary School and the South Amboy Middle High School.