Point Boro School Taxes Would Go Up $89 Per Year on Average Home
Public budget hearing 7 p.m. March 25 at Ocean Road School
Local school taxes on an average Point Borough home assessed at $375,000 will increase by $89 annually if a proposed school budget is adopted by the Borough Board of Education.
A public hearing on the budget for the 2013-2014 school year is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 25 at Ocean Road School.
The board, which heard a budget presentation on Monday night at Ocean Road, is expected to adopt the budget on March 25.
Also on Monday night, the board and the few in the audience watched a video (see attached) prepared by district staff and students that begins with an introduction about Superstorm Sandy, the volunteers who helped out, general information about the school district and then some information about the budget and some new programs and capital improvements coming up.
The proposed budget calls for a general fund tax levy of $30,466,932, an increase of $783,273 or 1.37 percent from last year's tax levy of about $29,683,659.
The levy calls for taxpayers to pay $2.37 per $100 of assessed value, which means a home assessed at $200,000 will see an increase of $47; $300,000 - $71 and $400,000 - $95.
The total budget is $40.3 million, or an increase of nearly $1.3 million from the prior total budget of $39 million.
Borough Schools Superintendent Vincent Smith said the district received an additional $26,000 in state aid for the 2013-2014 budget and that the proposed tax levy is about $119,000 below the state-mandated tax levy cap.
Point Pleasant continues to rank lowest in per pupil spending for Ocean and Monmouth County K-12 school districts, according to the state's most recent data, as listed in a district report. The Borough per pupil cost is $13,191.
The number of pupils has actually decreased slightly. The pupils on roll as regular full-time students was 2,537 in October 2011, decreasing to 2,511 in October 2012 and expected to decrease to 2,502 this October.
Ocean Road to Have Full-Time Vice Principal Again
In 2010, when there was a steep state aid cut, the position of vice principal at Ocean Road School was cut from full-time to part-time. The proposed budget calls for the position to again be full-time for 10 months of the year.
"There's a lot of reasons for that," Smith said. "The new teacher evaluation system will create a lot of extra work, we'll need a full-time person here."
The district is also hoping to restore school resource officers at the middle and high schools and is in discussion with Borough officials to see if the town can help pay for them, Smith said.
Regarding another security issue, an audit was done of all security cameras at all four schools and the district is waiting for the findings of that study, while also planning renovations to the schools' main entrances and reception areas for safety reasons and working with the Borough police department to improve school safety, Smith said.
The position of part-time media specialist at the middle school will be restored to a full-time position, as it had been before the 2010 budget cuts, Smith said.
There will also be a new elementary school Spanish program called "Salsa," The new program, for grades kindergarten through fifth grade, will use existing staff and will not require the district to hire a new Spanish teacher, Smith said. The Spanish programs in the elementary schools were also cut three years ago, he said.
Joan Speroni, who just left the board as a member, was the only resident to ask questions about the budget. She asked about "Salsa," about plans to renovate some of the school labs and bathrooms and about a new standardized test replacing two that are used now (more about the latter at end of story).
Capital improvements for some labs and bathrooms
Capital improvements will be done in certain parts of the schools, in keeping with the district's five year facility plan, Smith said. A few examples:
- New computer and Physics lab at high school
- New roof at Ocean Road School, to be followed by roof replacements at other schools
- New Biology lab at middle school
- New generator for the middle school which has none
- New generator for the high school which has one but needs an upgrade, Smith said.
- New toilets, partitions, mirrors and other improvements for the high school and middle school bathrooms and, later, for bathrooms at the two elementary schools
Borough Schools Business Administrator Steven Corso said the district has purchased partitions, mirrors and toilets and will go out to bid to hire contractors to do the work, hopefully completing the job during the summer at the high school and middle school.
A New Standardized Test to Replace NJASK and HSPA
Regarding the upcoming change in standardized testing, the state is mandating that schools phase out use of two standardized tests, the HSPA, taken by high school juniors, and NJASK, taken by students in grades third through eighth.
Instead, most likely starting in the 2014-2015 school year, those students will take a test known as "PARCC" which will also test Math and Language Arts/Literacy.
Most of the test will be taken online and results may be issued by mid-June, rather than late August or early September, which is when results usually came in from HSPA and NJASK, Smith said.
"They hope to get the results back by mid-June, which will help us assess the kids a lot earlier, to see if they need to go to summer school or how we can plan for them for September," Smith said.
Smith said from what he's read about PARCC so far, it seems like it's a better test.
"I think the contents of the test are a little more challenging and I think that's good for the kids," he said.
To receive a copy of a budget presentation booklet or to get more information about the budget, call the district office at (732) 701-1900.