BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ – Members of the Bernards Township Board of Education will be briefed on the staff budget and expected tax effects on Monday evening before voting on the school budget for 2021-22.
The $ 103.2 million spending plan is driven by exceptional factors such as higher costs for government-mandated employee health insurance plans, reimbursement for pandemic-related expenses, and higher wages and benefits from unionization in benefit companies , caretaker and cafeteria services affected.
Last year, Superintendent Nick Markarian gave a detailed staffing breakdown at the hearing. He covered enrollment by class and school and discussed which grades and sections would be affected. In the secondary schools, the election resulted in an appointment of teachers.
“I can’t say it will be quite the same as last year, but we will certainly discuss similar things,” he said via email.
The Board of Education responded on April 26 to a new state requirement that will increase costs for the school district. The board passed a resolution asking for relief from some provisions related to medical and prescription services that could add $ 70,000 to the local school budget.
The operating budget would exceed $ 100 million for the first time and increase by more than $ 3.6 million. Total budget, including reduced capital and debt costs, increases $ 3.4 million to $ 110.4 million.
Company admin Roderic McLaughlin emailed Friday that the property tax rate for 2021 would be $ 1.4020, an increase of 1.38 cents for every $ 100 of its estimated value.
The “average” home would pay more than $ 200 more in school taxes under the new budget. Last year the average home of $ 611,873 paid $ 8,490. This year, the average of $ 620,896 would pay $ 8,705.
The amount to be raised through local property taxes is up about 1.84 percent, McLaughlin said.
Somewhat offsetting is an amount in excess of state aid, although this is linked to the question of whether the district could expect a similar amount over the next year. The district expects an increase from $ 762,472 to $ 5.63 million.
Bernards Township’s 2020 property tax rate was $ 2.094 for every $ 100 of property valuation. Schools accounted for $ 1.389. or about two thirds of the tax bill.
The district is reviewing the financial implications of a state law creating two new health insurance plans. The law requires self-insured districts like Bernard’s Township to implement equivalent plans.
Effective January 1, 2021, 316 district employees elected the NJ Educators Health Plan, which changed employee contribution requirements to a portion of the salary instead of a portion of the bonus.
The Board of Directors resolution states: “The low level of employee contribution requirements under NJEHP are encouraging employees who have previously waived or declined coverage to enroll, thereby reducing the cost of district health care for the remainder of FY 2021 increase “and until 2022 and beyond.
This could make it harder for schools to stay within the state-mandated 2 percent cap on property tax increases, the resolution said.
It called on the governor and lawmakers “to address and correct the unintended financial consequences”. Aid could be provided through direct, short-term aid, as well as through research into “long-term structural reforms”.
The estimated increased cost has been tentatively set at between $ 700,000 and $ 800,000 per year for lost contributions, he said. A slide in the presentation said that employee health benefits would cost $ 1,733,304 more in 2021-22.
The number of certified employees for the 2020-2021 school year was around 570.
The union formation impact of another state law could add nearly $ 350,000 to the budget. McLaughlin said local workers at the district’s third-party contractor for depot, property and maintenance services voted for a union. This could have an impact on wage and health benefits.
All district programs and services from 2020 to 2021 will remain in the proposed budget, and staff numbers will remain unchanged from the budget passed this year, McLaughlin said on March 22.
The budget shows that it has received, or is anticipating, a total of $ 1 million in pandemic-related spending. That includes $ 438,028 for more than 1,070 Chromebooks for distance learning and nearly $ 300,000 for upgraded hands-free rest rooms and nurses.
The budget, according to the budget summary, provides for more spending on reading and math support services, “an emerging need resulting from the pandemic-related closings of schools.”
It provides a summer intervention program for students with difficulties and / or without commitment.
The budget includes the cost of changing the Ridge High School daily schedule to a schedule that means longer class hours and a shared lunch break for all students and staff. Each subject would not be taught every day on what is known as the rotating drop schedule.
District registration continues to decline. In mid-October, 4,845 people were enrolled, for the seventh year in a row with fewer students. The number for October 2019 was 5,125. The district with four elementary, one middle and one high school saw a five-year change of 673 fewer students.