Freehold Township school board adopts $81.6 million budget for 2018-19

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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The Freehold Township K-8 School District Board of Education has adopted an $81.61 million budget that will fund the operation of the district during the 2018-19 school year.

The budget will be supported by a tax levy of $70.04 million to be paid by the township’s residential and commercial property owners. Other revenue includes $5.4 million in state aid (up from $5 million in 2017-18).

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Asked to comment on the budget for the upcoming year, Superintendent of Schools Ross Kasun said, “The Freehold Township School District is moving into the fourth year within our strategic plan.

“We are placing a focused shift from engagement to empowerment as we fulfill our district’s vision of  ‘… Students who are Leaders of their Own Learning …’ This budget fosters our ability to ‘take it further’ by allowing us to purchase resources that teachers and students can select to use, as they build personal pathways for success based on what they need, when they need it.

“As we strategically use professional development and vetting processes, we are spending less and having a greater impact for every student as a result,” he said.

“Safety is always a priority, so we included funds to add tools that make our schools safer and will increase the number of police officers in our schools across the district. This is in addition to the safety systems already put into place over the last three years. We also included funds in this budget to enhance and replace playground equipment at each elementary school,” Kasun added.

The school district’s 2017-18 budget totaled $79.73 million and was supported by a tax levy of $68.71 million. The average home in Freehold Township was assessed at $388,672 and the school tax rate was $1.1131 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of that “average” home paid $4,326 in K-8 school taxes.

For 2018-19, the school tax rate will increase to $1.1397 cents per $100 and the average home assessment is estimated at $402,344. The owner of that “average” home will pay $4,585 in K-8 school taxes, an increase of $259.

The owner of a home that was assessed at $235,000 in 2017-18 paid $2,616 in K-8 school taxes. If that home is still assessed at $235,000, the 2018-19 K-8 school taxes will be $2,678, an increase of $62.

The owner of a home that was assessed at $500,000 in 2017-18 paid $5,565 in K-8 school taxes. If that home is still assessed at $500,000, the 2018-19 K-8 school taxes will be $5,698, an increase of $133.

K-8 school taxes are one component of a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Freehold Township municipal taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes, Monmouth County taxes, a fire district tax and other assessments. Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and property, and the tax rate set by each taxing entity.

According to a budget document posted on the district’s website, the district’s enrollment on Oct. 14, 2016 was 3,790 pupils. On Oct. 13, 2017, the enrollment was 3,741 pupils. The estimated enrollment for Oct. 15, 2018 is 3,633 pupils.

News Transcript Managing Editor Mark Rosman contributed to this article.

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