Business administrator: South Brunswick school budget increase offset by ratables


SOUTH BRUNSWICK – School taxes in South Brunswick will increase only slightly for homeowners for the 2018-19 school year due to a $75 million increase in ratables in the municipality.

The South Brunswick School District Board of Education has adopted a budget for the 2018-19 school year that totals $149.1 million.

The local tax levy will be $115 million, to be collected from the township’s residential and commercial property owners.

The 2017-18 budget totaled $145.8 million and was supported by the collection of $114 million in property taxes from residential and commercial property owners.

In 2017-18, the school tax rate was $3.02 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home was assessed at $195,000 and the owner of that home paid $5,889 in school taxes.

In 2018-19, the school tax rate is projected to be $3.025 per $100. The owner of a home assessed at the township average of $195,000 will pay $5,898 – an increase of $9.

The owner of a home that was assessed at $300,000 in 2017 and is still assessed at $300,000 in 2018 will see his/her school tax increase from $9,060 to $9,074.

School taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes South Brunswick municipal taxes and Middlesex County taxes. Individuals pay taxes based on the assessed value of their home and property, and the tax rate established by each taxing entity.

The half-cent increase in the school tax rate is due to the district using a waiver from the N.J. Department of Education for enrollment increases, according to Business Administrator David Pawlowski.

The 2.5 percent increase in the tax levy for 2018-19, which is more than the 2 percent cap allowed by the state, is offset by a $75 million increase in ratables, Pawlowski said.

“South Brunswick, just as most districts in New Jersey, is struggling with costs associated with health care increases and staffing. Additional teaching staff to meet the needs of a growing district is difficult within a 2 percent cap on the tax levy. Also, meeting the security needs at every school in the district was an evident community request. Every school entryway, along with district-wide security cameras, visitor management software and transportation improvements are all a part of next year’s budget,” Pawlowski said.