Two Questions Still Part of School Budget
The Board of Education will meet to vote on the budget Thursday night.
The Board of Education will meet Thursday to cast a final vote on the 2013-14 school budget.
As currently drafted, the budget includes a tax levy increase of 2.6 percent over the prior year, which is inside the allowable exceptional 4.13 percent increase of student enrollment, health insurance costs and banked cap.
A 2.6 percent increase in the tax levy means an additional $1,404,134 will be raised in local taxes over the 2012-13 amount, for a total tax levy of $55,409,234 for the operating fund.
Another $827,475 will go into the banked cap fund for potential use over the next three years.
According to the agenda for the Thursday meeting, the budget includes two additional questions, one for enhancing counseling staff in the district and one for increasing security.
The first question, to Enhance Counseling Staff, will cost $240,000, or an additional 0.44 percent, to the tax levy. It will add two full time counselors, one at Chatham High School and one at the elementary school level. Currently Washington Avenue School and Milton Avenue School share a counselor. The question will also include a student assistant counselor at Chatham Middle School.
The second question to enhance school security and safety will cost $225,000, or an additional 0.42 percent to the tax levy. It will include building monitors at every school in the district and a director of security.
The budget also calls for funds to be withdrawn from the capital reserve for repaving the front circle driveway at Chatham High School, repaving the driveway entrance and additional parking lot at Washington Avenue School, carpet removal and tile replacement at Milton Avenue School and additional classrooms at Chatham High. The agenda does not specify how many classrooms will be added.
The budget does not include changes suggested by various members of the public at the Monday Board of Education meeting. Several people asked the board to add at least one of these questions to the base budget, and asked for seven classrooms instead of four to be added to the high school due to increased projected enrollment over the next six years.
The Board of Education meets at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Chatham Township Municipal Building. A full copy of the agenda is in the Photos & Documents section of this article.