WALL TOWNSHIP — A tentative budget for the 2023-24 school year will result in a school tax increase of approximately $66 for an average assessed home in Wall Township, the board of education announced at its meeting Tuesday.
Board member Adam Nasr, chairman of the finance and facilities committee, reported that the district will see a “general fund increase of $3.5 million, which represents a 4.3 percent increase this year,” for the 2023-2024 budget.
Mr. Nasr attributed the increase to rising health benefit costs after the pandemic, as many people had to postpone elective surgeries. Health benefit payouts represent $2.5 million of the $3.5 million increase. “We have explored other options such as enrolling into the state health benefits plan, but remaining self-insured right now is the most cost-effective option.”
According to finance and facilities committee minutes, the total payout for health benefits this year is $9,450,903. A 15 percent increase in state health benefits at the state level will make an additional $1.4 million available to the district to be able to offset health care costs in the next school year.
Mr. Nasr reported that the remaining million dollar deficit is attributed to “salaries, C&I initiatives such as evaluations, programs and training and technology initiatives.”
On the revenue side, the district plans to use the 2 percent cap as well as “exercise the use of bank cap and health benefit waiver.” The bank cap is available for BOE use when they do not reach the full 2 percent tax levy increase in a given year. The bank cap is currently valued at $299,638.
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