The Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education has introduced a $205.89 million budget to support the operation of the district during the 2019-20 school year.
District administrators said the budget will be supported by the collection of $141.76 million in taxes from residential and commercial property owners in the district’s eight sending municipalities: Colts Neck, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro.
The district operates high schools in Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro.
A public hearing on the budget has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 29 at the district’s administration building at 11 Pine St., Englishtown. Residents will have the opportunity to comment on or ask questions about the budget at that time. The board may adopt the budget that evening.
The school district’s 2018-19 budget totaled $206.87 million and was supported by a tax levy of $138.39 million.
The district’s 2019-20 budget is $980,000 lower than the 2018-19 budget, however, the tax levy will increase by $3.37 million.
In 2019-20, under the terms of legislation that was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2018, the district will continue to see its state aid decrease in upcoming years. State aid to the FRHSD will fall by $3.76 million from $50.296 million in 2018-19 to $46.515 million in 2019-20.
Administrators have said the decreases will continue through the 2024-25 school year. Freehold Regional has joined other school districts that are losing state aid in litigation that seeks to overturn the law, which is known as S-2.
Regarding the district’s current financial position, Superintendent of Schools Charles Sampson said, “We will be whole for another year. We are structurally intact for another year. There were school districts such as Freehold Borough that were underfunded for years and they deserve every penny they receive in state aid, but no child should be educated at the expense of other children. The (state’s) funding formula needs to be re-examined.”
Administrators will use $13.49 million from surplus funds (savings) as revenue in the 2019-20 budget. The 2018-19 budget used $13 million from surplus.
Administrators have not yet presented the high school district tax rate and the assessed value of the average home for each sending municipality for 2019-20, but did provide the total amount of taxes that property owners in each municipality are projected to pay in the upcoming year:
• Colts Neck: $12.81 million for 2019-20; down from $13.5 million for 2018-19;
• Englishtown: $1.09 million for 2019-20; up from $1 million for 2018-19;
• Farmingdale: $593,080 for 2019-20; up from $569,765 for 2018-19;
• Freehold Borough: $3.97 million for 2019-20; up from $3.6 million for 2018-19;
• Freehold Township: $27.77 million for 2019-20; down from $28.20 million for 2018-19;
• Howell: $32.21 million for 2019-20; up from $30.96 million for 2018-19;
• Manalapan: $29.21 million for 2019-20; up from $27.57 million for 2018-19;
• Marlboro: $34.12 million for 2019-20; up from $32.95 million for 2018-19.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Administration Sean Boyce spoke about the district’s enrollment and staffing, saying, “We expect to continue to adjust staffing to correspond to enrollment decreases. Staffing evaluations are ongoing based on students accepting placement in FRHSD magnet schools, in vocational programs and in private schools, as well as course selection.”
Freehold Regional High School District taxes are one item on a property owner’s tax bill. A total tax bill also includes municipal taxes, Monmouth County taxes and other assessments. The taxes an individual pays to a taxing entity depend on the assessed value of that individual’s home and/or property and the tax rate determined by each taxing unit.