Freehold Township school board introduces $81.9M budget for 2019-20


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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The Freehold Township K-8 School District Board of Education has introduced an $81.9 million budget that will fund the operation of the district during the 2019-20 school year.

Following a discussion among district administrators and board members, the budget was introduced on March 12. A public hearing is scheduled for April 30. The budget, which may be revised until that time, may be adopted by the board following the public hearing.

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The budget will be supported by a tax levy of $71.4 million to be paid by the township’s residential and commercial property owners. Other revenue includes $2 million from the district’s surplus fund (savings) and $4.59 million in state aid (up from $4.53 million in 2018-19).

The school district’s 2018-19 budget totaled $81.6 million and was supported by a tax levy of $70 million.

In 2018, the average home in Freehold Township was assessed at $402,344 and the school tax rate was slightly less than $1.14 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of that home paid about $4,586 in K-8 school taxes.

For 2019-20, administrators are estimating the school tax rate will decrease to slightly more than $1.07 per $100 of assessed valuation.

In 2019, the average home is assessed at $420,000. With a tax rate of about $1.07 per $100, the owner of a home assessed at that amount will pay about $4,494 in K-8 school taxes – a decrease of $92 on a year-to-year comparison of “average” homes.

If an individual’s home assessment went from about $235,000 in 2018 to about $250,000 in 2019, his K-8 school taxes would remain flat at about $2,675.

If an individual’s home assessment went from about $300,000 in 2018 to about $350,000 in 2019, his K-8 school taxes would increase from about $3,420 to about $3,745.

If an individual’s home assessment decreased from 2018 to 2019, that individual will pay less in K-8 school taxes in a year-to-year comparison.

Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and property, and the tax rate set by a taxing entity.

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.

Board President Michael Amoroso and board members Mary Cozzolino, Michelle Lambert, Michael Matthews, Elena O’Sullivan, Kay Poklemba-Holtz and Kerry Vendittoli voted “yes” on a motion to introduce the 2019-20 budget.

Board member Daniel DiBlasio voted “no” on the motion. He said after meeting, “I believe we can meet our obligations to the children’s education and the maintenance of our infrastructure with a 1.5 percent increase in the tax levy and not the 2 percent proposed.”

Board Vice President Jennifer Patten was absent from the meeting.

According to district administrators, 3,766 students were enrolled as of February. The district’s enrollment in February 2018 was 3,768 students.

“I am proud of the tentative budget that has been adopted by our board,” Superintendent of Schools Neil Dickstein said after the meeting. “The design of this budget has been a collaborative effort between all budget managers and reflects our commitment to balancing a thorough and efficient education for our students and our fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers.

“Due to the savings we have experienced after the first year of being self-insured for health benefits, we will be able to perform much needed maintenance on our facilities that we have not been able to fund in previous years,” he said.

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