HomeExaminerExaminer NewsMillstone school board adopts $40M budget for 2020-21 academic year

Millstone school board adopts $40M budget for 2020-21 academic year

MILLSTONE – The Millstone Township K-8 School District Board of Education has adopted a $40.1 million budget that will fund the operation of the district during the 2020-21 school year.

Following a discussion among district administrators and board members, the budget was adopted on April 27.

In 2019, the $39.6 million budget that was adopted for the 2019-20 school year was supported by a local tax levy of $32.2 million and the receipt of $4.46 million in state aid.

The $40.1 million budget for the 2020-21 school year will be supported by a local tax levy of $32.7 million and the school district will receive $4.06 million in state aid.

The 2019-20 budget produced a school tax rate of $1.72 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $500,000 paid about $8,600 in school taxes.

For 2020-21, the school tax rate will increase to $1.74 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $500,000 will pay about $8,700 in school taxes.

School taxes are one component of a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, Millstone Township municipal taxes and other assessments.

An individual pays more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

The school district’s state aid has decreased each year since the enactment of state legislation known as S-2 in 2018. Millstone is projected to lose a total of $2.1 million in state aid under S-2 through 2024-25, according to district administrators.

“I am thankful to our business administrator, Bernie Biesiada, and the members of our Board of Education for working diligently to create and approve a budget that is as fiscally responsible as possible while avoiding catastrophic impacts to the schools and students,” Superintendent of Schools Christopher Huss said.

“Despite a loss of nearly $900,000 in state aid over the past three years, we remain committed to doing what is best for the students and steadfast in our mission to stay at the forefront of education.

“We are proud of our cutting-edge STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) electives, robust curriculum, progressive character education programs, commitment to the arts and extensive extracurricular activities. All of these are supported by the (2020-21) budget and we are hopeful we can maintain them for the foreseeable future,” Huss said.

“While preparing the budget is always a very involved process, this year was especially challenging. For the third year in a row, we suffered a significant loss of state aid while expenses such as building operations, special education services, healthcare coverage and out-of-district tuition continue to rise.
“The funding formula created by the state appears to ignore these factors, among many others, while over-relying on enrollment data and previous years’ tax levy figures. The state’s funding formula suggests that residents of Millstone have not been paying their ‘local fair share’ in taxes …
“Essentially, the Legislature has used aid reductions to send a message that districts like Millstone should balance their budget by raising local property taxes or reducing spending. Unfortunately, the latter can only be accomplished by cutting programs and/or raising class sizes, which we are adamantly against,” the superintendent said.
“If the S-2 funding formula continues to be implemented as it is currently designed and cuts persist through 2025 as projected, difficult decisions will have to be made.
“Educational programs, key resources and all non-essential support services will be compromised and the educational experience we have become accustomed to in Millstone will drastically change. 
“Thus, it is important for all of us – students, parents, educators and community members alike – to band together and let our legislators know how we feel. Hopefully, we can partner with supportive politicians and change the budgetary course for future years.
“In the meantime, I continue to be appreciative of our Board of Education’s thoughtfulness and diligence. They have once again balanced their fiduciary duties with our students’ needs to arrive at a reasonable and fair budget,” Huss said.
- Advertisment -

Stay Connected


Current Issue