Gov. Chris Christie released aid figures for New Jersey school districts today and New Providence is set to receive $841,924, up from the $645,220 aid received last year.
This fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, the largest appropriation of state education dollars in New Jersey history, includes $7.8 billion in K-12 formula aid, an increase of $135 million from last year and part of $213 million in additional state funding for education over Fiscal Year 2012.
“I just got the numbers myself and we’re certainly pleased we received an additional $196,000 more than we had anticipated. It’s certainly great news,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Miceli told Patch Thursday afternoon. “In terms of the plan, we’ll have to look through this and see how we’ll utilize the additional aid. But we have to make some quick decisions because I know we have a meeting Monday night for the board to approve the tentative budget to go down to the County. It’s not the final budget, but we do need to have some stuff down to the county next week. It’s not too much time to make some decisions. We were hoping we would get the information yesterday or early this morning, but we just got it this afternoon.”
At the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 9, Adam Smith, the Finance committee chairman, outlined the $33 million proposed budget, which included a 1.87 tax increase from last year that would result in an estimated $106 tax increase per household.
But with the additional state aid, Miceli said that number could change.
“We were definitely under cap and I know the goal of the board was to be under cap and that was with the state aid numbers we had anticipated. So obviously with this increase, the question is to fund some of the priorities and/or to apply it all to tax relief against the levy,” Miceli explained. “We had gotten some preliminary projections… we were anticipating a flat amount from the prior year’s numbers and we were still in good shape and we realized we would be under cap so with this additional $196,000, it’s certainly great news and it’s just a matter of making some decisions about what needs to be done here in the district and sort of finding the right balance with the tax levy. But regardless, the plan was to be under cap even prior to this increase.”
Although residents voted on the school budget in years past, the board as long as the district was at or below the state-mandated 2 percent cap.
“It’s my understanding that all of the districts in Union County have approved moving the election and the no vote on the budget,” Miceli said. “It’s definitely a change in the process but it’s consistent with what most of the communities around the state are doing and certainly it’s following the concept or the idea that’s been brought forth by the Governor and the Legislature. It’s sort of streamlining things.”
Miceli said highlights of the proposed 2012/2013 school budget will be presented at the Board of Education this Monday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the / Media Center. From there, the board will move to approve the submission of the budget to the County Superintendent, which needs to be sent by March 1.
The board expects to receive approval of the proposed budget from the County on or before March 22, Miceli said. From there, the public hearing on the proposed school budget will take place on March 22.