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Manalapan-Englishtown school board adopts $96M budget for 2021-22

The Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education has adopted a $96 million budget to fund the operation of the school district during the 2021-22 school year.

The budget that was adopted during a May 4 meeting at the Manalapan Englishtown Middle School indicates residential and commercial property owners in Manalapan and Englishtown will pay a combined total tax levy of $70.96 million to support the budget.

Voting “yes” on a motion to adopt the budget were board President Dotty Porcaro, Lori Semel, Gerald Bruno, Brian Graime, David Kane, Joanne Schechter, Christine Parisi and Ryan Urgo. Board member John D’Amato was absent from the meeting.

Superintendent of Schools John J. Marciante Jr., who is retiring at the end of the current school year, said the district’s enrollment was 5,600 pupils about 14 years ago.

That number has dropped by a significant number of children since that time.

According to a User Friendly Budget posted on the school district’s website, there were 4,952 pupils enrolled on Oct. 15, 2018; 4,865 pupils enrolled on Oct. 15, 2019; and 4,616 pupils enrolled on Oct. 15, 2020. The district’s projected enrollment for Oct. 15, 2021 is 4,515 pupils.

Marciante said the ongoing decrease in enrollment has led to a reduction of three elementary school teaching positions and four secondary school teaching positions for the upcoming academic year. Class sizes in the district will remain at the maximum level, he said.

For the 2020-21 school year, the budget totaled $99.18 million budget and property owners in Manalapan and Englishtown paid a total tax levy of $69.62 million to support the budget.

From 2020-21 to 2021-22, the school district’s total appropriations have decreased by $3.18 million and the tax levy has increased by $1.34 million.

During the 2020-21 school year, the K-8 school tax rate in Manalapan was 94.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $450,000 paid about $4,253 in K-8 school taxes.

During the 2021-22 school year, the K-8 school tax rate in Manalapan is projected to be 94.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of home assessed at $450,000 will pay about $4,266 in K-8 school taxes.

During the 2020-21 school year, the K-8 school tax rate in Englishtown was 90.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $330,000 paid about $2,990 in K-8 school taxes.

During the 2021-22 school year, the K-8 school tax rate in Englishtown is projected to be 88.1 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $330,000 will pay about $2,907 in K-8 school taxes.

Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity (i.e., municipality, school district, county).

If the assessed value of an individual’s property increases from one year to the next, that individual could pay more in taxes to a taxing entity (i.e., school district) even if the tax rate for that taxing entity has decreased.

School taxes are one component of a property owner’s total tax bill in Manalapan and Englishtown. The bill also includes taxes that are paid to the municipality, to the Freehold Regional High School District and to Monmouth County.

The school district’s budget for the 2021-22 school year reflects a $2.96 million reduction in state aid. Manalapan-Englishtown will see its state aid reduced from $14.93 million in 2020-21 to $11.97 million in 2021-22.

The district’s state aid is being reduced each year through 2024-25 under the terms of state legislation known as S-2 that was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2018.

Manalapan-Englishtown is among a group of New Jersey school districts that have filed a lawsuit against the state as a result of S-2.

District administrators provided the following budget highlights:

• Digital Conversion: 600 new Chromebook laptop computers for incoming sixth grade class;

● Integrity of academic programs minimally impacted at this time by budget reductions. Availability of extracurricular activities maintained;

● Achieve 3000 will continue to be used in grades three through eight;

● enVisionMath 2.0 will be implemented in the eighth grade and the 2016 contract for kindergarten through fifth grade will be extended for one more year;

● Reading Workshop will be expanded to grades two and three, including creating classroom libraries;

● Science resources to support the revised curriculum.

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