Freehold Borough K-8 board adopts budget for 2019-20 school year

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FREEHOLD – The Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education has adopted a $30.9 million budget that will fund the operation of the district during the 2019-20 school year.

The budget, which was adopted May 6, will be supported by a tax levy of $10.8 million to be paid by the borough’s residential and commercial property owners during 2019-20.

The district’s 2018-19 budget had a school tax rate of $1.03 per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the borough was assessed at about $255,000 and the owner of that home paid about $2,626 in K-8 school taxes.

For 2019-20, the school tax rate is estimated to decrease to 99 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The average home in the borough is now assessed at about $260,975 and the owner of that home will pay about $2,583 in K-8 school taxes, a decrease of $43.

An individual pays more or less in taxes depending on the assessed value of his home and/or property and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

School taxes are one component of a property owner’s tax bill, which also includes Monmouth County taxes, Freehold Regional High School District taxes and Freehold Borough municipal taxes.

The $27.5 million budget adopted by the board for the 2018-19 school year was initially supported by a tax levy of $11.89 million and the receipt of $11.23 million in state aid.

However, the district’s state aid for the 2018-19 school year changed in July 2018 following negotiations between Gov. Phil Murphy and leaders in the state Legislature which resulted in a law that immediately increased the district’s state aid from $11.23 million to $13.86 million and reduced the tax levy from $11.89 million to $10.89 million. The total budget increased from $27.5 million to $30 million.

For the 2019-20 school year, Freehold Borough will receive $15.25 million in state aid, an increase of $1.39 million from 2018-19.

“After years of chronic underfunding in state aid, this year, through the commitment of this current administration to fully fund school districts, Freehold Borough is finally seeing real funding relief,” Superintendent of Schools Rocco Tomazic said.

“The (state’s) Fiscal Year 2020 budget allows funds to lower our class sizes and allows for required English as a Second Language and special education supports to our students. We look optimistically to moving from our current 63% funding to full 100% funding in the coming years,” Tomazic said.