FRHSD Budget Increases Tax Levy 1 Percent

The increase in state aid helped the district keep the tax levy increase low.

The Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD) presented their 2012-2013 budget last night at Freehold High School and the Board of Education unanimously adopted the budget, which is beneath the 2 percent cap and will require a 1 percent increase in the general tax fund levy.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Administration and Board Secretary Sean Boyce conducted the presentation of the budget, explaining how he worked to balance next year’s district budget of $187,074,086, a 4.2 percent increase from the 2011-2012 budget, which had no increase in the tax levy.

Currently, the state requires that the increase in the general cap levy not exceed 2 percent, with far fewer provisions for exceeding this cap than in the past, Boyce explained.

Since the FRHSD did not utilize the 2 percent cap last year made available to them, the state allows districts to “bank cap”, or set that 2 percent aside to be utilized in a future year. Therefore, the district essentially had 4 percent to work with for the 2012-2013 school year in order to stay under cap, following state law, but the district decided not to increase the tax levy 4 percent.

The , the highest awarded in New Jersey, helped the district to maintain a low tax levy increase of just 1 percent, Boyce said, and the majority of this new money will be going to the classroom.

“The charge of the school district is to assess and determine what the aggregate will of the community is, as far as where is the right balance between the quality of programs, the desire for the quality and scope of programs, and the capacity to fund those programs,” Boyce said.

New distinctive electives and classes will be offered next year, including additional AP courses. Some of the other supplemental instructional resources will go towards new instructional and support staff.

The large 6.6 percent increase in state aid is due to a new funding formula, and one of the aspects looked at in deciphering allocated funds was adequacy - what budget amount is adequate for a specific district. The state discovered that FRHSD has been significantly below adequacy in terms of aid and, therefore, has promised to bring the district up to adequacy over the next five years, starting with this $3 million in aid for 2012-2013.

Also, last year the state offered school districts . The FRHSD decided to take this additional aid, a total of $1.7 million, and roll it over to be used for the 2012-2013 school year, when Federal aid would diminish significantly, Boyce said. And Federal aid has decreased 95.7 percent since last year.

“This budget is $4.5 million below the adequacy budget,” Boyce said, which is a funding formula established by the state which assesses what each district should be spending. The adequacy budget is calculated based on the profile of each district and the profile of their population, and the fact that FRHSD is well below the adequacy budget is a big accomplishment, according to Boyce.

So, how is this budget going to affect your property taxes? Boyce said that the district budgets’ impact on property taxes depends on three things: the value of your home, the number of students in the K-8 school district in your town, and the number of students in the high school district in your town.

“The state takes the value of your town’s property and splits it based on the ratio of elementary kids and high school students, then takes all those high school pieces and that becomes the basis of the high school district,” Boyce explained. Your home’s value in relation to the total value of the high school pool is how they decide how to allocate the taxes, Boyce clarified further.

Colts Neck, Farmingdale, and Freehold Boro will see a decrease in property taxes, their taxes dropping $0.08, $0.89, and $3.70, respectively. Englishtown, Freehold Township, Howell, and Marlboro will all be seeing property tax increases based on this budget, their taxes are rising $9.43, $1.20, $0.27, and $0.84, respectively.

The reason for the high increase in property taxes for Englishtown stems from the fact that there is an unusually large number of eighth grade students leaving the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School (MERS) district and entering the FRHSD, Boyce said. This change will balance itself somewhat as the taxes for the MERS district will decrease $8.20 since the same eighth grade students will be graduating from the K-8 district.

The Freehold Borough saw the highest decrease in property taxes for this budget since the Borough population saw a 3.7 percent drop in high school enrollment, but their property values stayed the same. This drop will also somewhat be balanced as the Borough has just seen an increase in enrollment for the K-8 district.

“We genuinely believe that we put together a budget that strikes the right balance for this community between our expectations, for programs and services, and our capacity to fund those,” Boyce said. 

A full slideshow presentation of the  2012-2013 budget will soon be available at the Freehold Regional High School District Web site and Boyce said he is available at his for any questions and comments about the budget.

s March 27, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Wow lots of extra money but they cut accident insurance out for the students. We are suddenly moving away from putting the students first. Students who represent their schools by playing a sport, or participating in clubs or extracurricular activities and get hurt, no longer have the additional coverage which so many need to fill in the gaps of their deductibles and copays. For the families who may have lost their insurance, you are basically up a creek. Providing this insurance, even with a voluntary policy that parents can purchase costs pennies compared to the costs of possible lawsuits. Other districts continue to provide this coverage to make sure their students and families do not bear the burdens of unpaid medical expenses when these kids are participating in school functions and sports, yet FRHSD does not.
s March 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM
What FRHSD does have is a catastrophic insurance policy. Your kid needs to really be hurt to use this. First, you, the parents, have to pay a $25,000 deductible. $25,000!!!!!
cynicinmarlboro March 28, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Missing from this report is that our rep. was absent. Not that it would have mattered anyway. I believe he is on the finance committee which came up with the figures to begin with. But the budget is a BIG decision and he wasn't there. No representation from Marlboro in that regard.
Dave Deering March 28, 2012 at 11:27 PM
You didn't expect to see a 1% decrease in the tax levy, did you?


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