EATONTOWN – The Eatontown Public Schools Board of Education has adopted a $26.7 million budget that will fund the operation of the K-8 district during the 2021-22 school year.
The budget, which was adopted by the board on April 26, will be supported by a tax levy of $17.7 million to be paid by Eatontown’s residential and commercial property owners.
The school district’s 2020-21 budget totaled $26.3 million and was supported by a tax levy of $17.4 million.
In 2020-21, the K-8 school tax rate in Eatontown was about 75.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $360,000 paid about $2,722 in K-8 school taxes.
For 2021-22, the K-8 school tax rate in Eatontown is projected to be about 74.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. On a home that is still assessed at $360,000, the K-8 school taxes would total about $2,690.
K-8 school taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Eatontown municipal taxes, Monmouth Regional High School District taxes and Monmouth County taxes.
Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property and the annual tax rate that is set by each taxing entity. A decrease in the tax rate does not necessarily mean an individual will pay less in property taxes.
During 2020-21, Eatontown received $2.93 million in state aid. For 2021-22, Eatontown will receive $2.41 million in state aid, a decrease of $522,703.
The school district’s state aid has decreased each year since the enactment of state legislation known as S-2 in 2018. Under S-2, the reduction in state aid to the school district will continue through the 2024-25 school year.
District administrators said the highlights of the 2021-22 budget include:
• Rigorous academic programs based on the New Jersey Student Learning Standards;
• Professional development opportunities for staff, including four professional development days;
• Continued investment in research-based, educational best practices;
• Staffing and resources to support expanding English Language Learner and Special Education communities;
• Continued support of gifted and talented and STEM (science, technoligy, engineering and mathematics) enrichment programs;
• Use of $1.48 million in Preschool Expansion Aid funding to support nine full-day preschool classes (135 students);
• Continued funding to support the district’s 10-year technology plan;
• Providing new educational materials for curriculum areas such as science, English language arts and mathematics
• Support of facility maintenance and improvements, including an Energy Savings Improvement Plan;
• Additional resources to support district-wide social and emotional learning programs;
•Use of federal funding through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER-I) of $253,538 and ESSER-II of $1,149,971.
The school district has seen enrollment decline from 1,061 pupils in 2010-11 to 928 pupils in 2020-21.
District administrators closed their presentation regarding the budget by stating that until the 2024-25 school year, state aid will be dramatically reduced under the S-2 legislation.
Eatontown Public Schools will lose a total of approximately $2.2 million in state aid. The administrators said if this course “is not changed or at least adjusted from a fiscal standpoint, major reductions will need to occur across the district in the future.”
Administrators said the 2021-22 budget requires reductions in many areas, including staff positions due to retirements and that “future budgets will require substantial reductions and cuts across the board.”
Administrators said if the district had the ability to raise revenue from the tax levy from 2% to 4%, the impact on school taxes on a home valued at $360,000 would be $16.21 a year.