Taxpayers may shell out 3 percent more to fund the North Bergen school district next year if the $116.4 million budget introduced last week by the Board of Education is approved at a future meeting.
At a special meeting on Tuesday, the board introduced the budget, which was up roughly $3.7 million from last year, according to Steven Somick, business administrator for the school district.
The budget will undergo a public hearing on Wednesday, March 28 at 6 p.m. before it can be adopted. Then, the public can vote on it in April.
The school budget is one of three components that make up residents’ tax bills. The town and county budgets make up the rest. An owner of a home assessed at $200,000 will see an annual tax increase just in the school tax portion of $92.95 for the 2012-2013 school year, paying $3,358 in total school taxes over four quarters if the budget is approved.
The board decided to exceed the 2 percent tax levy cap imposed by the state, and will apply to the state Commissioner of Education to use their surplus in the amount of $440,765 to fund district expenses next year.
Somick said that the new budget is partly funded by $42.96 million from the taxpayers. It also includes $64.9 million in state and federal aid, an increase of $2.8 million from last year.
Somick said of the budget, “It’s gone up to provide thorough and efficient education to the students of North Bergen.” He said that the district should be getting $29 million more in aid in order to meet state educational mandates.
Voters historically turn down the board of education budgets for both North Bergen and Guttenberg every year. Then, the governing bodies of North Bergen and Guttenberg must decide whether more cuts can be made before they vote and approve the budget and its tax levy.
The Guttenberg school district supervises only the Anna L. Klein School. High school students in Guttenberg go to North Bergen High.
That district expected last week to vote on a budget that will see a 2 percent increase in the tax levy, according to Tom Roberts, superintendent of the school district.
Last year’s Guttenberg school budget was $14.4 million, with a tax levy of $9.9 million.
The school budget is one of three components that make up residents’ tax bills.
Somick said that the district will not join the current trend and move its school board election to November, and will continue to hold them every April.
“The board wants to continue this way,” said Somick.
Currently running for reelection in the North Bergen district are Maurena Luzzi, Ruth Shaw, and Julio Marenco, seeking three-year terms. They are unopposed.
The election will take place on Tuesday, April 17.
On the other hand, Guttenberg recently passed a resolution to move their annual school elections to November, according to Roberts.
Somick said the district will continue to upgrade the windows in various schools. A resolution was passed at Tuesday’s meeting that authorized a $1.8 million payment for new windows at Robert Fulton School.
“I have a grant to reimburse 58 percent of the [cost of replacing the] windows,” said Somick, who added that the $1.8 million will cover the remaining 42 percent.
Somick also said that the district is seeking to upgrade the fire alarm system in Robert Fulton and Horace Mann Schools.
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.