Monday, February 27, 2017

SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET FACING $2.4 MILLION DEFICIT

The South Orange Maplewood School District is facing a budget deficit of up to $2.4 million, according to the latest projections that will be presented at tonight's school board meeting.

Budget documents that were posted online with the board agenda this week indicate current expected revenue to be $128.1 million for the 2017-2018 school year, with current spending requests at $130.5 million.

Those requests came about through the new zero-based budgeting effort, in which each budget section was built from scratch. 

Currently, district-wide staffing is to remain at the same levels, 745 full-time employees.

The deficit must be filled with either spending cuts or a tax increase, or a combination of both.

The budget documents indicate that if the board stays within the state-capped 2% tax increase, the deficit will remain at about $2.4 million. But the board could institute a higher tax increase, up to 3.39%, by using what is known as "banked cap." 

That is an additional increase allowed when the district does not raise taxes by 2% in a prior year. Since the board did not use all of its tax increase in some prior years, it could add an additional $1.4 million in spending and boost the tax increase.

But even with that, a budge deficit of at least $800,000 would remain. See the entire budget presentation HERE.

The deficit and ongoing budget review comes a year after the board approved the elimination of 15 district positions, including 11 teachers - nine of them at Columbia High School.

The board meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. tonight, but in a new location: The Montrose School, 356  Clark St., South Orange

1 comment:

Richard Vader said...

There’s a “moral hazard” when one party (South Orange) to a consolidated school district (Maplewood – South Orange Consolidated School District) pays a disproportionate amount of the consolidated school district tax per pupil. Economics ultimately prevail as the school district has to confront deficits arising from “Free-riding” and excessive spending.

The choices are to increase real estate taxes, reduce services, or merge the school district with another like Livingston, West Orange or Milburn. Elimination of the Central Office Staff and Administration alone can provide the funds needs sustain the communities’ commitment to quality, free community based public education.