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Upper Freehold Regional school board introduces 2021-22 budget

The Upper Freehold Regional School District Board of Education has introduced a $43.1 million budget that will fund the operation of the district during the 2021-22 school year.

Property owners in Allentown and Upper Freehold Township will be asked to pay a $28.1 million local tax levy to support the budget.

Following a discussion among district administrators and board members, the budget was introduced on March 17. A public hearing is scheduled for May 5. The budget, which may be revised until that date, may be adopted by the board following the public hearing.

The $43.1 million budget includes $38.1 million in operating expenses, $4.23 million in debt service and $717,882 in special revenue.

Of the $38.1 million in operating expenses for the upcoming academic year, $29.8 million (78.2%) will be spent on salaries and benefits. The second most costly item is transportation at $2.27 million (5.95%), according to budget information posted on the school district’s website.

Administrators said 12 staff members district-wide will be affected by reductions in the budget for 2021-22.

Upper Freehold Regional is attended by students from Upper Freehold Township and Allentown. Residential and commercial property owners will share the cost of the $28.1 million tax levy. Upper Freehold taxpayers will pay 87% of the tax levy and Allentown taxpayers will pay 12% of the tax levy.

Students from Millstone Township attend Allentown High School through a send-receive relationship between Upper Freehold Regional and the Millstone Township K-8 School District. Millstone Township pays tuition for the students it sends to Allentown High School.

In 2020-21, the school tax rate in Upper Freehold was about $1.84 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the township was assessed at $488,300. The owner of that home paid about $8,984 in school taxes.

In 2021-22, the school tax rate in Upper Freehold is projected to be about $1.86 per $100 of assessed valuation. On a home that is still assessed at $488,300, the owner will pay about $9,082 in school taxes.

In 2020-21, the school tax rate in Allentown was about $1.80 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the borough was assessed at $290,842. The owner of that home paid about $5,234 in school taxes.

In 2021-22, the school tax rate in Allentown is projected to be about $1.83 per $100 of assessed valuation. On a home that is still assessed at $290,842, the owner will pay about $5,321 in school taxes.

School taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes municipal taxes and Monmouth County taxes.

The amount of taxes a property owner pays is determined by the assessed value of the individual’s home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

Upper Freehold Regional’s 2020-21 budget totaled $43.7 million and was supported by a tax levy of $27.5 million.

For the 2020-21 school year, Upper Freehold Regional’s budget was supported by the receipt of $5.25 million in state aid.

For the 2021-22 school year, Upper Freehold Regional’s budget is expected to be supported by the receipt of $4.76 million in state aid, a decrease of $492,930.

Upper Freehold Regional’s state aid has decreased each year since the enactment of state legislation known as S-2 in 2018.

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