COLTS NECK – Members of the Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education have unanimously voted to adopt a $27.17 million budget for the 2020-21 school year.
To fund the budget, residential and commercial property owners will pay $24.39 million in local taxes. The school district will receive $1.267 million in state aid for 2020-21, which is about $84,000 more than the $1.183 million in state aid the district received in 2019-20.
The district’s 2019-20 budget totaled $26.17 million and was supported by a $23.48 million tax levy. Total appropriations for the upcoming academic year are up $1 million and the tax levy is up $910,000.
In 2019, the K-8 school tax rate was 77.56 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at the township average of $828,700 paid about $6,427 in K-8 school taxes.
In 2020, the K-8 school tax rate is projected to increase to 81.14 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at the new township average of $823,000 will pay about $6,678 in K-8 school taxes.
In addition to K-8 school taxes, property owners also pay Colts Neck municipal taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes and Monmouth County taxes.
The total amount an individual pays in taxes is determined by the assessed value of his home and/or property, and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.
During the 2019-20 school year, district administrators identified several priority capital projects and planned to finance them in a five-year lease with payments beginning in the 2020-21 budget.
The total cost of the capital projects is about $2 million and the 2020-21 budget includes a $429,304 payment for the following:
• Replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for the Cedar Drive Middle School gymnasium and locker rooms;
• New automated HVAC management systems at the Cedar Drive Middle School and the Conover Road Elementary School;
• A new 54-passenger school bus;
• New bus cameras for 20 district-operated vehicles;
• The replacement of 80 iPads and 15 iMac computers for the Conover Road Elementary School and the Cedar Drive Middle School;
• The replacement of 50 Chromebook laptop computers for staff members.
Other appropriations for 2020-21 include employee benefits, $4.87 million; general education, $7.44 million; special education, $3.27 million; and administration, $1.76 million.
There are currently 239 employees in the school district. Administrators said that number would remain the same for 2020-21 with some minor restructuring due to two retirements and an anticipated decrease in enrollment.
There will be two new administrative positions: a shared assistant principal at the primary school and the elementary school, and a supervisor of student information systems, innovation and 21st century learning. The district’s administrative staff will increase from nine employees to 10 employees.
The certified instructional staff will decrease from 116 employees to 114 employees, according to the budget.
Colts Neck, which educates children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, has a current enrollment of 1,004 pupils. The projected enrollment for 2020-21 is 995 pupils.
The district consists of the Conover Road Primary School, the Conover Road Elementary School and the Cedar Drive Middle School.
The members of the school board are Kathryn Gizzo, president; Danielle Alpaugh, vice president; Marian Castner, Jacquelyn Hoagland, Marci Klein, Kevin O’Connor, Dr. Kimberly Raymond, Rebecca Roberts and Michael Taylor.