Both municipal and schools officials are touting budgets that they say propose the lowest tax hikes in at least a decade, with the township’s budget bringing with it an average annual increase of $43 and schools hiking its portion of the bill by about $46.
The public hearing on what Middletown Superintendent of Schools William George says is a fiscally sound budget with benefits to be proud of will be conducted at the board's voting meeting on March 27 at 7:30 p.m. But, at tonight's workshop meeting at Middletown High School North’s library, the the spending plan is up for discussion.
The 2012-13 $149.7 budget, with a tax levy of $125 million falls under the state-mandated 2 percent cap and represents a .98 percent tax levy hike, which translates into about an extra $46 a year on the schools portion of taxpayers’ bills, or roughly $4 a month.
The estimate is based on an average property assessed at $376,800 in the township.
The “amount to be raised by taxes,” or tax levy, falls $1.3 million below the state cap.
State aid is up by $851,011 from last year, with this year’s figure at $17,484,212, up from last year’s $16,633,190.
The general operating budget is staying almost exactly level from last year’s $145.7 million and last year’s tax levy of $123.8 million, what George says is the lowest proposed hike in a decade.
“The budget prepared by the and the administrative team for the 2012-13 school year is both fiscally and educationally responsible,” George said.
There will be no vote on the budget this year, as the spending plan is lower than the state cap.
, in line with a new state-sanctioned plan designed to eliminate the added election costs of holding a separate schools election in April.
According to state edict, if the budget is kept below the 2 percent, then there will be no vote on it, only Board of Education members. Any budget that crosses the 2 percent line must be voted on in ballot question, if a district has opted for the November schools elections.
George touted the room left in what he says is a fiscally austere budget to maintain and enhance programs. Those programs are: full day Kindergarten, advanced placement classes and programs, athletic programs, summer programs at middle and elementary schools and PSAT and HSPA testing initiatives.
With the 2012-13 budget, there will also be staff additions, including: a music teacher at , four special education teachers, three math teachers between and high schools North and South, one new elementary teacher, 1.6 new “specials” teachers, one elementary special education teacher and one district-wide student services supervisor.
For more information, see the attached presentations.