FREEHOLD – The Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education has adopted a $46 million budget to fund the operation of the district during the 2022-23 academic year.
The budget, which was adopted on May 9, will be supported by the collection of a $10.5 million tax levy to be paid by the borough’s residential and commercial property owners.
The board will appropriate $1.6 million from the district’s surplus fund (savings) and the remainder of the revenue that is needed to fund the budget will come from other sources.
In 2021-22, Freehold Borough’s school tax rate was 94.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. On a home that was assessed at the borough average of $275,756, K-8 school taxes totaled $2,602.
In 2022-23, the school tax rate is estimated to decrease to 81.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. However, the average home assessment in the borough has increased to $320,433 and the owner of that home will pay $2,614 in K-8 school taxes.
Freehold Borough K-8 school taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes and Freehold Borough municipal taxes.
Individuals pay more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of their home and/or property and the tax rate established by each taxing entity.
During the 2021-22 school year, the $38.68 million budget that was adopted by the board was supported by a local tax levy of $10.74 million and the receipt of $19.1 million in state aid.
During the 2022-23 school year, the local tax levy will decrease to $10.5 million to support the proposed $46 million budget. The school district will receive $22.26 million in state aid, which is an increase of $3.16 million from the current academic year.
Freehold Borough’s state aid has increased each year since the enactment of state legislation known as S-2 in 2018. As recently as the 2018-19 school year, the district’s state aid was $11.23 million.
According to a budget presentation, staffing additions in the 2022-23 budget consist of three English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers; guidance counselor/student assistance counselor; technology technician; registered nurse; speech language pathologist; Freehold Intermediate School social studies teacher; Freehold Intermediate School science teacher; and there will be ESL Program Enhancements.
Tentative capital projects included in the budget are the following:
• Park Avenue Elementary School and Freehold Intermediate School, classroom addition off the fifth grade wing;
• Park Avenue Elementary School and Freehold Intermediate School, replace six boilers. Estimated to start in spring 2023;
• Potential conversion of “old” locker rooms at the Park Avenue Complex into classrooms. Anticipated to start summer 2022;
• Freehold Learning Center elementary school heating, ventilation and air conditioning project. Anticipated to start in June 2023.
“The 2022-23 budget continues the path to full state funding which will provide the students of Freehold Borough with a constitutionally guaranteed thorough and efficient education,” Superintendent of Schools Joseph Howe said. “There has and continues to be a significant correlation between state aid additions and student progress.
“Significantly, this budget will continue to improve upon many of the supports implemented this year, including an expansion of the ESL department, additional social and emotional learning supports, improvement upon technology, and renovations to our buildings to maximize space,” he said.
Freehold Borough has three schools; the Park Avenue Elementary School, the Freehold Learning Center elementary school and the Freehold Intermediate School. The district’s estimated enrollment on Oct. 15, 2021 was 1,677 pupils.