HAZLET – The Hazlet Township Public Schools Board of Education has adopted a $59.97 million budget to fund the operation of the school district during the 2020-21 school year.
The budget was adopted on May 4.
The $59.97 million budget for 2020-21 will be funded in part through the collection of $43.68 million in property taxes from residential and commercial property owners in Hazlet.
The school district’s 2019-20 budget totaled $59.69 million and was supported by the collection of $42.68 million in taxes from property owners in Hazlet.
In 2019-20, the school tax rate was $1.752 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in Hazlet was assessed at $325,550. The owner of that home paid $5,703 in school taxes.
In 2020-21, the school tax rate is projected to decrease to $1.734 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home remains assessed at $325,550. The owner of that home will pay $5,644 in school taxes during the upcoming year.
School taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill. Property owners also pay Hazlet municipal taxes and Monmouth County taxes. The amount of taxes an individual pays is determined by the assessed value of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.
The school district’s 2020-21 budget incorporates another reduction in state aid. Hazlet has seen its state aid decrease from $12.94 million in 2018-19, to $12.29 million in 2019-20, to a projected $11.36 million in 2020-21.
School superintendents are waiting for their districts’ actual 2020-21 state aid amounts from Trenton, given that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on New Jersey’s finances, according to Gov. Phil Murphy.
Asked for comment on the upcoming school year’s budget, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Ridley said, “Districts in general have not received definitive answers or direction from Trenton regarding how circumstances will play out in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“The Legislature has yet to finalize cuts and/or relief as they, too, seem to be navigating this new reality with a lack of a definitive endgame in sight.
“As such, we sit and wait to learn our specific financial fate moving forward. However, we are not idle and have indeed begun to prepare for the summer and beyond,” Ridley said.
The superintendent offered the following information to residents and students:
• Virtual summer enrichment will be offered to the district free of charge. Registration will take place in June. This is ordinarily a real-time experience with students in the schools;
• A significant amount of professional development will be provided to staff over the summer and during the 2020-21 school year (virtually or in-person) given the very real possibility that “school as we know it” will not look the same come September;
• Appropriate curriculum revisions will also take place in order to integrate the continuance of a virtual component regarding the delivery of instruction;
• A Pre-Engineering Academy will begin at Raritan High School;
• The Performing Arts Academy and Early College Academy will continue at the high school.
According to a budget document posted on the district’s website, there were 2,851 pupils enrolled on Oct. 15, 2018; 2,759 pupils enrolled on Oct. 15, 2019; and the projected enrollment for Oct. 15, 2020 is 2,760 pupils.