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Freehold Borough school board amends budget after loss in state aid

FREEHOLD – The members of the Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education have amended the budget for the 2020-21 school year to account for the anticipated loss of $1.43 million in state aid from the amount the district was initially informed it would receive.

On Aug. 6, board members passed a resolution to amend the budget and change line items that will allow for the removal of $1.43 million from the spending plan. The board said school districts were advised by the Department of Education to adopt a plan addressing the reduction in state aid.

In February, administrators were informed by state officials that Freehold Borough would receive $17.35 million for 2020-21. Using that amount, administrators crafted a $33 million budget that was adopted by the board in early May.

Later in May, state officials announced that as a result of the financial impact the 2020 coronavirus pandemic was having on New Jersey’s finances, state aid to schools for the upcoming academic year was being revised.

Freehold Borough now expects to receive $15.92 million in state aid for the 2020-21 school year. During the 2019-20 school year, the district received $15.25 million in state aid.

According to the Aug. 6 resolution, the amendments to the 2020-21 budget will involve shifting $500,000 in contracted heating, ventilation and air conditioning project costs from the operating budget to the district’s capital reserve; the $274,904 elimination of three basic skills positions through attrition (not a reduction in force); a $171,957 withdrawal from the district’s unassigned reserve; the $90,000 elimination of an unfilled teacher of technology position at the Freehold Intermediate School; shifting a $54,695 portion of custodial costs to the district’s cafeteria fund; and $30,000 in one-time dental savings.

Freehold Borough will use funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to handle the $1.43 million state aid reduction ($200,000 in CARES funding will be used to address the digital divide and $108,753 in CARES funding will be used toward English language learner and literacy coaches).

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