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Keyport Board of Education introduces 2022-23 budget

KEYPORT – The Keyport Public Schools Board of Education has introduced a $26.5 million budget that will fund the operation of the school district during the 2022-23 academic year.

Following a discussion among district administrators and board members, the budget was introduced on March 23.

A public hearing is scheduled for April 27. The budget, which may be revised until that date, may be adopted by the board following the public hearing.

The budget for the upcoming school year will be supported by a tax levy of $11.6 million to be paid by Keyport’s residential and commercial property owners. Other revenue includes an appropriation of $1.46 million from the district’s surplus fund (savings).

During the 2021-22 school year, Keyport received $5.32 million in state aid. According to information provided by the New Jersey Department of Education, the school district will see a decrease of $370,000 for 2022-23, bringing its state aid to $4.95 million.

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

The school district’s 2021-22 budget had a school tax rate of $1.38 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $290,000 paid about $4,002 in school taxes (1.38 x 2,900).

The school district’s 2022-23 budget is projected to have a school tax rate of $1.28 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home that is still assessed at $290,000 would pay about $3,712 in school taxes (1.28 x 2,900).

However, if the assessed value of an individual’s property has increased from 2021 to 2022, that individual could pay more in school taxes even though the school district’s tax rate is projected to decrease.

School taxes are one component of a Keyport property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes and Keyport municipal 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).

The school district’s 2021-22 budget totaled $23.7 million and was supported by a tax levy of $11.2 million paid by residential and commercial property owners.

From 2021-22 to 2022-23, total appropriations have increased by $2.8 million and the school tax levy has increased by $400,000.

The school district comprises Keyport Central School (pre-kindergarten through 8) and Keyport High School (9-12).

Students from neighboring Union Beach attend Keyport High School through a send-receive relationship between the Keyport Public Schools and the Union Beach School District.

The Keyport Public Schools’ estimated enrollment on Oct. 15, 2021 was 945 students.

The issue of students from Union Beach opting not to attend Keyport High School has resulted in litigation and led Keyport administrators to post the following message on the school district’s website:

“Keyport Public Schools has had a sending and receiving relationship with Union Beach for decades that benefited families of both communities.

“Unfortunately, the Union Beach Board of Education has taken conscious and deliberate action to violate this relationship. This action is hitting Keyport in the pocketbook, as the tuition paid by Union Beach to Keyport continues to drop precipitously, significantly impacting Keyport’s budget and finances.

“The improper diversion of students to other school districts has also shifted the balance of students attending Keyport by increasing the percentage of special education students and reducing the percentage of general education students.

“Union Beach is not alone in this illegal effort to deprive Keyport of its rights. The Henry Hudson Board of Education, the Hazlet Board of Education and the Red Bank Regional Board of Education are active accomplices in siphoning away our students.

“As a result, Keyport has filed petitions with the commissioner of education seeking an order that would enforce the existing send-receive relationship and stop these improper practices.

“Keyport is also seeking to have the commissioner address the years of financial harm and the ongoing disparate educational impact to Keyport’s special and general education student populations,” Keyport administrators wrote in their message to the community.

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