Eatontown school board adopts $26M budget for 2022-23


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EATONTOWN – The members of the Eatontown Public Schools Board of Education have adopted a $26.1 million budget that will fund the operation of the K-8 district during the 2022-23 school year.

The budget for the upcoming school year, which was adopted on April 25, will be supported by a tax levy of $18 million to be paid by Eatontown’s residential and commercial property owners.

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The school district’s 2021-22 budget totaled $26.7 million and was supported by a tax levy of $17.7 million.

From 2021-22 to 2022-23, total appropriations have decreased by $655,951 and the tax levy has increased by $323,535.

In 2021-22, Eatontown’s K-8 school tax rate was 77.1 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home assessed at $360,000 paid about $2,776 in K-8 school taxes.

In 2022-23, Eatontown’s K-8 school tax rate is projected to be 76 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The owner of a home that is still assessed at $360,000 will pay about $2,736 in K-8 school taxes.

K-8 school taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Eatontown municipal taxes, Monmouth Regional High School District taxes and Monmouth County taxes.

Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property and the annual tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

A decrease in the tax rate of a particular taxing entity (i.e., a school district) does not necessarily mean an individual will pay less in property taxes to that taxing entity in a given year as the assessed value of the home must be factored in to the equation.

District administrators listed a series of accomplishments in the budget presentation, including that the 2022-23 budget: maintains current educational programs and services; maintains the fullday preschool program at nine classes (135 pupils).

Also, that it maintains extracurricular/co-curricular programs; continues the implementation of New Jersey Student Learning Standards; provides for additional learning opportunities for students using the Winter and Summer Learning Academy; continues the district-managed Extended School Year program for special education students.

And, that it provides important safety and security upgrades; supports additional opportunities to support student social-emotional health as well as learning; provides two additional school counselors in order for each school to have a school counselor in 202223 based on federal funding; and supports a plan to repair and replace older HVAC equipment with no tax impact.

In a section of the budget presentation titled “In Closing,” administrators said, among things, “That until the 2024-25 school year, state aid will be dramatically reduced
under the S-2 legislation. Eatontown Public Schools will lose a total of approximately $2.2 million in state aid;

“If that course (S-2) is not changed or at least adjusted from a fiscal standpoint, major reductions will need to occur across the district in the future; the 2022-23 budget required reductions in many budgeted areas. Federal grant funding and reserve funds were used heavily to balance the budget;

“Future budgets will require substantial reductions and cuts across the board; and, when the federal funding and reserve accounts dry up, the district will be forced to make very hard choices in the future.”

During the 2021-22 school year, Eatontown received $2.4 million in state aid. For the 2022-23 school year, Eatontown will receive $1.89 million in state aid, a decrease of $510,000, according to information provided by the New Jersey Department of Education.

The school district’s state aid has decreased each year since the enactment of state legislation known as S-2 in 2018. Under S-2, the reduction in state aid to the school district will continue through the 2024-25 school year.

The Eatontown Public Schools consist of Memorial Middle School, Margaret L. Vetter School, Woodmere School and Meadowbrook School.

The district’s enrollment has been declining during the past decade. During the 2011-12 school year the enrollment was 1,051 students. The enrollment during the 2021-22 school year is 867 students, according to a budget presentation.

Students of high school age who live in Eatontown attend Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls.

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