The Brick Board of Education adopted a $136 million school budget supported by a $96.5 million tax levy at a meeting on Tuesday evening.
The spending plan calls for a $58.55 tax increase for a resident whose home is valued at $330,000, the township’s average, according to Business Administrator James Edwards. Overall, the budget will result in a net tax increase of 1.6 cents per $100 of assessed real estate valuation.
The budget calls for the reduction of 12 teaching positions and one teacher’s aide position, but adds numerous sports and extracurricular activities. The reduction in teaching jobs is due to a projected drop in enrollment, officials said.
“I believe the budget I am presenting tonight continues to provide our children with what they need to succeed while staying within the 2 percent cap,” said Hrycennko, referring to the state’s new 2 percent cap on tax levy increases.
Extracurriculars, Sports Added to Budget
The proposed 2011-12 budget includes a number of educational and extracurricular additions over the 2010-11 budget, including restoring middle school sports programs and adding advanced courses in Spanish, French and history to both high schools.
Additionally, the budget calls for the purchase of projectors, desktop computers for middle school classrooms and Apple iPads.
Also, thanks to last-minute discussions initiated by board members John Talty and Robert Merola, the board decided to restore funding for strength and conditioning coaches for both high school weight rooms, as well as junior varsity volleyball and boys and girls tennis teams at both high schools.
Additionally, the spending plan includes funding for an extra hour of ice time each week for the two high school hockey teams for practice. Practice for both teams was cut to one hour per week under the 2010-11 budget.
The budget also restores funding for chess, the multicultural club and dance team at both township high schools.
Combined, all of the programs restored at the March 29 adoption meeting – not including middle school sports programs, which were added at a previous meeting – add up to $92,101.
That figure leaves $912,732 to be put toward capital projects, Edwards said, which translates into about $1.5 million in buying power thanks to state grants.
The tax levy to support the budget will now go to the voters, who will have the decision on whether to approve or defeat the proposal at the April 27 school elections.
If the ballot measure is approved, the tax levy stands as proposed.
If the measure is defeated, it goes to the township council for a review, after which the municipal governing body can vote to affirm the tax levy as proposed or cut a portion from it. While the council can suggest areas where programs can be trimmed after a cut, the Board of Education has the ultimate say on how to apply cuts to the tax levy in their final budget.
Alternatively, the board can appeal the council’s decision to the Commissioner of Education.