Freehold Borough school board introduces $30.6M budget

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FREEHOLD – The Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education has introduced a $30.6 million budget that will fund the operation of the district during the 2019-20 school year.

Following a discussion among administrators and board members, the budget was introduced on March 18.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 6. The budget, which may be revised until that time, may be adopted by the board following the public hearing.

The $30.6 million budget will be supported by a tax levy of $10.87 million to be paid by the borough’s residential and commercial property owners during 2019-20.

The district’s 2018-19 budget had a school tax rate of $1.03 per $100 of assessed valuation.

In 2018, the average home in the borough was assessed at about $255,000 and the owner of that home paid about $2,626 in K-8 school taxes.

For 2019-20, the school tax rate is estimated to decrease to 99 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

In 2019, the average home in the borough is assessed at about $261,000 and the owner of that home will pay about $2,584 in K-8 school taxes.

Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property and the tax rate established by each taxing entity.

School taxes are one component of a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes and Freehold Borough municipal taxes.

The $27.5 million budget adopted by the board for the 2018-19 school year was initially supported by a tax levy of $11.89 million and $11.23 million in state aid.

However, the district’s state aid for 2018-19 changed in mid-2018 following negotiations between Gov. Phil Murphy and leaders in the state Legislature which resulted in a law that raised the district’s state aid for the current school year to $13.86 million and reduced the tax levy to $10.89 million, while increasing the total budget for 2018-19 to $30 million.

For 2019-20, Freehold Borough will receive $15.25 million in state aid, an increase of $1.39 million.

“Freehold Borough is pleased the state has so far kept to its promise to begin to meaningfully resolve underfunding in state aid for our district and others like us,” Superintendent of Schools Rocco Tomazic said.

“For this coming year, we can add 10 teachers to lower class sizes and provide necessary academic supports, all while bringing our tax levy to a fair share. Our district is moving to a much better position, financially and educationally,” Tomazic said.