FRHSD school board adopts $209M budget for 2022-23 academic year

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The Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education has adopted a $208.93 million budget to support the operation of the six-school district during the 2022-23 school year.

The budget was adopted by the board during a meeting on April 28 at Howell High School following a presentation by Assistant Superintendent for Business Administration Sean Boyce. No one from the public commented on the budget when given the opportunity to do so.

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Voting “yes” on a motion to adopt the budget were board President Peter Bruno, Vice President Marc Parisi and board members Michael Messinger, Elizabeth Higley, Kathie Lavin, Debra Fanelli and Diana Cappiello.

Board members Heshy Moses and Jamie Bruno were absent from the meeting.

District administrators said the 2022-23 budget would be supported by the collection of $146.28 million in taxes from residential and commercial property owners in the district’s eight sending municipalities: Colts Neck, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro.

The 2022-23 budget includes a reduction of $3.5 million in state aid from the current school year. The FRHSD’s state aid decreased from $40.73 million in 2020-21 to $34.05 million in 2021-22. For 2022-23, the district’s state aid will decrease to $30.55 million.

The district’s state aid has been reduced in each of the past several years under the terms of legislation known as S-2 that was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2018.

Superintendent of Schools Charles Sampson has said the reduction in state aid will continue through the 2024-25 school year under S-2.

For several years, district administrators have been advocating for changes in S-2 in an attempt to curtail or to eliminate the reductions in aid the law has imposed. Prior to the adoption of the budget, Sampson addressed the issue.

“I think we are making progress from an advocacy standpoint of bringing awareness of what is happening in school districts (that are having their state aid reduced). At a meeting of the (state Legislature’s) Education Committee today, a number of legislators from across the state were sounding the alarm about the harmful impacts of S-2. It is permeating the conversation at the state Legislature, which is where it really needs to permeate,” Sampson said.

The superintendent encouraged members of the public to reach out to their local governing body, to the state legislators who represent their municipality and to Murphy’s office to continue speaking about the impact of S-2 on the district.

In the midst of the ongoing reduction in state aid, Sampson said, “This district has still managed to expand opportunities for students. We are still providing an exceptional education for the students we serve.”

Regarding the tax impact of the 2022-23 budget, district administrators provided the following information:

• Colts Neck property owners will pay $11.37 million of the district’s total tax levy. The preliminary FRHSD tax rate is projected to be 34.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $800,000 will pay about $2,752 in FRHSD taxes during the upcoming year.

• Englishtown property owners will pay $1 million of the district’s total tax levy. The preliminary FRHSD tax rate is projected to be 32.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $400,000 will pay about $1,304 in FRHSD taxes during the upcoming year.

• Farmingdale property owners will pay $653,170 of the district’s total tax levy. The preliminary FRHSD tax rate is projected to be 34 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $400,000 will pay about $1,360 in FRHSD taxes during the upcoming year.

• Freehold Borough property owners will pay $4.67 million of the district’s total tax levy. The preliminary FRHSD tax rate is projected to be 36.30 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $400,000 will pay about $1,452 in FRHSD taxes during the upcoming year.

• Freehold Township property owners will pay $28.24 million of the district’s total tax levy. The preliminary FRHSD tax rate is projected to be 38.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $500,000 will pay about $1,945 in FRHSD taxes during the upcoming year.

• Howell property owners will pay $34.09 million of the district’s total tax levy. The preliminary FRHSD tax rate is projected to be 40.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $500,000 will pay about $2,015 in FRHSD taxes during the upcoming year.

• Manalapan property owners will pay $30.12 million of the district’s total tax levy. The preliminary FRHSD tax rate is projected to be 35.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $500,000 will pay about $1,790 in FRHSD taxes during the upcoming year.

• Marlboro property owners will pay $35.08 million of the district’s total tax levy. The preliminary FRHSD tax rate is projected to be 48 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $500,000 will pay about $2,400 in FRHSD taxes during the upcoming year.

Freehold Regional High School District taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill. The total tax bill also includes municipal taxes, local school district taxes and Monmouth County taxes.

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

The district operates high schools in Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro.

According to budget documents, in October 2018, the district’s enrollment was 10,673 students. In October 2019, the enrollment was 10,571 students. In October 2020, the enrollment was 10,376 students. In October 2021, the enrollment was 10,432 students. The projected enrollment for 2022-23 is 10,380 students, according to a User Friendly Budget posted on the district’s website.

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