Montgomery school board adopts $114 million budget


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Montgomery Township Board of Education members have adopted a $114 million budget that funds school district operations for the 2024-25 school year following a public hearing on April 30.

“The biggest drivers of our appropriations are going to be instruction (regular and special) and also employee benefits,” said Jack Trent, business administrator for the Montgomery Township School District.

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“Speaking of major drivers of our budget, salaries make up 61.5 percent, benefits take up 21.3 percent, those are predetermined costs for the most part.”

The school district serves students and families in both Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill.

In Montgomery, the projected tax rate for residential property owners is $2.34 per $100 of assessed valuation. An owner of an assessed home at $507,000 will pay $11,863 in school taxes.

For Rocky Hill, the projected tax rate is $1.36 per $100 of assessed valuation. An owner of an assessed home at $526,000 will pay $7,153 in school taxes.

School taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes Montgomery Township or Rocky Hill municipal taxes and Somerset County taxes.

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

To support the $114 million school district budget, property owners in the township are projected to pay a tax levy of $89 million in 2024-25, which is a $1.7 million increase.

Montgomery accounts for close to $87 million and Rocky Hill accounts for close to $2.2 million.

Budget revenues include: $10.1 million in state aid, $4.2 million from the fund balance (savings), $1.2 million from grants and entitlements, $714,000 from capital reserve, and $561,000 from the maintenance reserve.

On the appropriations side, $29.3 million will go toward regular instruction, $19.2 million to employee benefits, $11.6 million to support services, $9.6 million towards special education instruction, $9.2 million to operations/maintenance of plant/security, $7.4 million to debt service, $6.7 million towards administration, and $6.3 million to transportation.

Personnel additions included in the budget: five paraprofessionals, a transportation nurse, computer technician, two psychologists for the STARR program (a mental health support program), a board-certified behavioral analysis (BCBA) teacher, an autism teacher, and two safety and security coordinators.

“We have many projects in the works,” Trent added. “We have security improvements we plan to do; we have playground equipment upgrades (at Orchard Hill Elementary School and Village Elementary School), [and] we are looking at an upgraded Montgomery High School sign out front.

“We are looking at upgrading transportation facilities and the big one hanging over still are the ROD (Regular operating district) grants, which provide 40 percent state funds to match our 60 percent.

“We are going to be moving forward with some of those this year.”

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