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Jackson school board adopts $167M budget for 2022-23

JACKSON — The seven members of the Jackson School District Board of Education have unanimously adopted a $167.77 million budget to support the operation of the school district during the 2022-23 school year.

Jackson’s residential and commercial property owners will pay a total tax levy of $99.21 million to support the spending plan, according to information provided by the board.

The budget was adopted during a meeting on April 27. Voting “yes” on a motion to adopt the budget were board President Michael Walsh, Vice President Tara Rivera and board members Erica Osmond, Allison Barocas, Tina Kas, Giuseppe Palmeri and Scott Sargent.

Superintendent of Schools Nicole Pormilli said Jackson is continuing to feel the impact of a state law known as S-2 which distributes state aid to New Jersey’s school districts. Jackson has lost state aid on an annual basis since S-2 was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2018.

During the 2018-19 school year, Jackson received $48.77 million in state aid. For 2019-20, state aid decreased to $46.47 million. For 2020-21, state aid decreased to $42.99 million. For 2021-22, state aid decreased to $38.75 million.

For the 2022-23 school year, Pormilli said the district was anticipating a reduction in state aid of $4.1 million, but when state aid figures for the upcoming school year were released in March, Jackson’s reduction was $4.6 million, from $38.75 million in 2021-22 to $34.15 million in 2022-23.

District administrators said the impact of the lost aid on the 2022-23 budget is the loss of four positions through attrition/retirements and reductions in force (current class sizes remain); the loss of certain capital projects; a reduction in school-based budgets; and some technology reductions.

Pormilli said the Jackson School District has eliminated 147 positions since the onset of the S-2 reductions.

Administrators have said the reduction in state aid is occurring as they are continuing to deal with annual factors such as increasing contractual obligations; rising costs for items such as software licenses; the increasing price of gas; increasing insurance premiums; and an increase in tuition that is paid to send some students to out-of-district educational facilities.

During the meeting, Pormilli and board members asked residents to reach out to the state legislators who represent Jackson (Sen. Sam Thompson, Assemblyman Ron Dancer and Assemblyman Robert Clifton) and also to New Jersey’s legislative leaders to ask them to work to “correct the damage the (state aid) cuts have inflicted.”

Contact information for the state legislators is included in the 2022-23 budget presentation that has been posted on the school district’s website.

District administrators said the school tax rate for 2022-23 is expected to be about $1.42 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in Jackson is assessed at $329,862. The owner of that home will pay about $4,683 in school taxes during the upcoming year.

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

The amount of taxes an individual pays is determined by the assessed value of his home and/or property, and the tax rate that is established by each taxing entity.

There are six elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools in the district. The district’s estimated enrollment as of Oct. 15, 2021 was 7,647 pupils.

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