South River Board of Education adopts $37.M school budget

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SOUTH RIVER – The Board of Education has adopted a $37.3 million budget that will support the operation of the South River Public Schools during the 2019-20 school year.

The district’s budget for the 2018-19 school year was $35.1 million, according to Business Administrator Kenneth Kokoszka.

According to the board, this year’s money-saving initiatives include agreements with other school districts and municipalities through the Middlesex County Cooperative Pricing System for supplies, maintenance and equipment; exploration of revenue sources; a reduction in special education costs; and Educational Services Commission of New Jersey cost savings programs for natural gas, transportation and entering into a shared service agreement with the borough. 

In 2018-19, the board collected a local tax levy of $17.47 million from South River’s residential and commercial property owners to support the the school district.

In 2019-20, the tax levy to be collected from the borough’s residential and commercial property owners will be $17.77 million, according to the budget document.

The school district’s total budget has increased $2.2 million from 2018-19 to 2019-20 and the tax levy has increased $300,000 from 2018-19 to 2019-20.

In 2018-19, the school tax rate was $4.25 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the borough was assessed at $81,908 and the owner of that home paid $3,481 in school taxes.
In 2019-20, the school tax rate is projected to be $4.33 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the borough is now assessed at $82,288 and the owner of that home will pay about $3,559 in school taxes.
School taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes South River municipal taxes and Middlesex County taxes.
An individual pays taxes based on the assessed value of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.
Kokoszka said the district’s state aid will increase from $14.66 million in 2018-19 to $16.39 million in 2019-20. The board will use $1.55 million from surplus funds (savings) as revenue in the 2019-20 budget.
The budget appropriates $80,000 for security personnel, the South River High School vestibule project, a 911 inform and upgrade phone system, an upgrade to security camera software and an internal door lock replacement.  
No school district staff members are being let go and all staff member positions are being filled, according to Kokoszka, who said six full-time and one part-time new staff members would be hired.
Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.