School board approves preliminary budget

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Two positive cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed at Bay Head Elementary School. [PHOTO BY THE OCEAN STAR]

BAY HEAD — The Bay Head Board of Education has adopted its preliminary budget for the 2021-2022 school year, which would see the average household pay approximately $98 more in school taxes this year.

The budget has now been submitted to the Executive County Superintendent for approval. 

Business Administrator Patricia Christopher told board members during a presentation March 9 the general operating budget for 2021-2022 is $3,970,548. The budget calls for $3,367,734 to be raised through a general fund tax levy. 

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According to Ms. Christopher, next year’s school tax rate is $0.2218 per $100 of assessed valuation. Using last year’s assessment of $1,578,046, school tax bills will increase by around $98 for the average home.

“We don’t have the average assessment for this year yet … but that rate is really important because it is the second-lowest tax rate for an operating school district in the county and one of the lowest in the state so you can be proud of that,” Ms. Christopher told members.

According to Ms. Christopher, ratables for 2021 are $1,618,686,600, an increase of 0.75 percent or $12,203,400 from the 2020 ratable total of $1,606,483,200.

Estimated budget appropriations, according to Ms. Christopher, include: salaries at $1.783 million; high school and special education tuition at $560,000; health insurance, social security, pension and other benefits at $483,000; contracted professional services and insurance at $225,000; construction/major maintenance at $271,000 — all of which accounts for approximately 83 percent of the available budget.

“All of those items have accounted for 83 percent of the budget, so what is left of that other 17 percent are things like school supplies, our utilities, our transportation, class trips. That really is the smallest part of our budget but it is important because we want to make sure we spend it wisely,” Ms. Christopher said.

Ms. Christopher said debt service totals $268,669, with the debt service levy at $222,773.

“The capital items included in this year’s budget are replacement of the portico, water infiltration as we are having issues with water in the lower level of the older part of the school and are going to work on that. Then we are going to put in some bollards to protect the property and people of the school from cars driving up on the sidewalk and anything like that. We haven’t had any and we should add them,” Ms. Christopher added.

A hearing and public comment on the budget is expected to take place during the board’s May meeting.

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