Manalapan-Englishtown school board introduces $94.6M budget for 2020-21

The Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education has introduced a $94.62 million budget to fund the operation of the school district during the 2020-21 school year.

Board members introduced the budget during a meeting on March 17 at the Pine Brook School, Manalapan. A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 5 at the district’s administration building, 54 Main St., Englishtown.

The spending plan the board introduced will be submitted to the Monmouth County executive county superintendent of schools for approval. The county superintendent is a representative of the New Jersey Department of Education.

The $94.62 million budget for 2020-21 will be funded through anticipated revenues of $25 million and the collection of $69.62 million in property taxes from residential and commercial property owners in Manalapan and Englishtown, according to a resolution board members passed.

The tax impact of the 2020-21 budget on property owners in both municipalities was not immediately available from district administrators.

The spending plan for the upcoming school year will incorporate a $2.3 million reduction in state aid.

The school district’s 2019-20 budget totaled $93.44 million and was supported by the collection of $68.3 million in taxes from property owners in Manalapan and Englishtown.

The 2019-20 school year saw a continuing reduction in the district’s state aid in accordance with legislation known as S-2 that was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2018. State aid to the district declined from $18.77 million in 2018-19 to $17.23 million in 2019-20.

The district’s state aid will be reduced from $17.23 million in 2019-20 to $14.93 million for 2020-21, according to information released by the New Jersey Department of Education.

According to Manalapan-Englishtown administrators, the district’s state aid is scheduled to be reduced by an additional $2.93 million for 2021-22, by an additional $2.7 million for 2022-23, by an additional $1.7 million for 2023-24 and by an additional $540,000 for 2024-25.

Manalapan-Englishtown is among a group of New Jersey school districts that have filed a lawsuit against the state as a result of S-2.

Superintendent of Schools John J. Marciante Jr. has said the district will be able to absorb the $2.3 million reduction in state aid without compromising the educational program.

Business Administrator Veronica Wolf has said $69 million (73%) of the $94.62 million budget for 2020-21 will pay for personnel in the form of salaries, benefits and pensions. District staff will pay $3.5 million toward their healthcare costs, which she said represents a significant increase from as recently as five years ago.