New Budget Hikes Average School Tax Bill by $53
The $114 million budget is under state cap; no residents speak at public hearing.
Without any public comment or a vote at the polls, Hillsborough has a new school budget.
When the school district decided to switch the election of board members to coincide with the November general election, the district was also allowed by a new state law not to present its budget to voters in an April election unless it exceeded the state cap.
The budget, adopted unanimously by the school board at its Thursday meeting, is $425,000 under the state cap, Superintendent of Schools Jorden Schiff said.
The budget will raise the school property tax bill on the average Hillsborough home assessed at $368,700 by $53. That’s a rate increase of one cent from $1.45 per $100 of assessed value to $1.46.
In Millstone, because of a 2.5 percent decrease in tax ratables, the school tax on an average home assessed at $320,748 will increase by $117. The tax rate will increase from $1.48 per $100 of assessed value to $1.52.
No residents spoke at the budget’s public hearing on Thursday.
The only change from the tentative budget introduced earlier this month is the addition of two math positions at the high school. Board members had urged the addition of the teachers because of concerns that a number of Hillsborough High School students who had to take remedial math courses at Raritan Valley Community College.
Funding for the additional math teachers was found when Schiff recommended the school district not to contract with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company to return to the school district.
The dance company helped to implement the school district’s new Chinese curriculum by working with third-graders to enhance their Chinese language learning through dance and movement.
Helping to keep the $114 million budget under the 2 percent cap is an anticipated $900,000 savings realized in transportation costs if the middle school opens a half hour earlier, and a reduction in debt service.
Board member Greg Gillette said the change will allow for more school buses to serve three schools.
Also keeping costs down is the switch to a new health insurance carrier, Schiff said, and more use of shared services and cooperative purchasing.
The budget provides the expansion of Chinese classes at Auten Road Intermediate School and the high school, implementing Phase II of the One to One pilot plan to hike the number of students receiving a tablet computer from 10 percent to 20 percent, embarking on an energy savings plan and starting a new teacher and administrator evaluation process mandated by the state.
Also in the budget are two more special education teachers, more technological positions to support software, hardware and training and three clerical positions.
State aid to the school district remained flat.
Schiff also said that Hillsborough’s per pupil spending and administrative costs are below similar school districts.