Marlboro school board adopts $95M budget for 2022-23

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MARLBORO — With a vote of 6-2, the Marlboro K-8 School District Board of Education has adopted a $95.14 million budget to support the operation of the school district during the 2022-23 school year.

The budget was adopted during a meeting on April 26. Board President Randy Heller, Vice President Tricia Branch and board members Jessica Piernik, Susan Shrem, Jennifer Silacci and Jill Strafaci voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the budget.

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Board members Aldo Patruno and Kathleen Amster voted “no” on the motion to adopt the budget.

Amster said, in part, that she was voting “no” because “I can’t agree with the huge increase in the technology budget … and I feel that administratively we are heavy. I don’t mean teachers or principals.”

Patruno said he was voting “no” because “to me, (the budget) feels a little too top heavy with salaries at the administrative level. I would rather see more of the budget being spent where it makes the most impact, in the classroom.”

According to information provided in a budget presentation, approximately 44% of the district’s expenditures are for instruction and approximately 8% is for administration.

Other expenditures include benefits (18%), operating and maintenance (11%), pupil support (10.5%), transportation (6%), capital outlay (1.8%) and staff development (0.2%).

Patruno also said he is not in favor of outsourcing the district’s substitute teacher needs to a third party company.

Board member Christina Russotto was absent from the meeting.

According to information provided by the board, the budget will be supported through the collection of $80.7 million in taxes from Marlboro’s residential and commercial property owners.

Marlboro will see its state aid decrease from $8.62 million during the 2021-22 school year to $7.71 million during the 2022-23 school year, according to information provided by the New Jersey Department of Education.

The school district’s 2021-22 budget totals $93.38 million and is being supported through the collection of $79.2 million in taxes from Marlboro’s residential and commercial property owners.

For 2021-22, Marlboro’s K-8 school tax rate was $1.088 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the township was assessed at $495,000. The owner of that home paid about $5,386 in K-8 school taxes.

For 2022-23, Marlboro’s K-8 school tax rate is projected to be $1.106 per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home that is still assessed at $495,000 will pay about $5,475 in K-8 school taxes.

In addition to K-8 school taxes, property owners also pay Marlboro municipal taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes and Monmouth County taxes.

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

According to a budget presentation, the 2022-23 budget highlights include the following:

• Medical, prescription and dental benefit costs for the 2022-23 school year total $13.32 million. This includes mandatory health benefits contributions from employees per state law. Staff contributions are determined by their respective negotiated agreements;

• The 2022-23 budget includes a withdrawal of funds from capital reserve in the amount of $1.4 million and maintenance reserve in the amount of $421,020 to fund heating, ventilation and air conditioning work at the Defino and Dugan elementary schools;

• Replacement of five 54-passenger buses and two 16-passenger vans. These replacement buses will be purchased with a 10-year extended warranty;

• New grammar textbooks for elementary grades and new reading comprehension textbooks for kindergarten;

• For Special Education: maintain current staffing levels; maintain and enhance programs for children; a reduction in out-of-district tuition due to aging out of students to high school – this reduction additionally affects the reduction in contracted nursing services.

The Marlboro school district consists of the Asher Holmes Elementary School, the Robertsville Elementary School, the Marlboro Elementary School, the Frank J. Dugan Elementary School, the Defino Central Elementary School, the David C. Abbott Early Learning Center, the Marlboro Middle School and the Marlboro Memorial Middle School. The schools have a total enrollment of about 4,600 students.

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