Hardyston Township schools approve 2014-15 budget

| 07 May 2014 | 11:03

    HARDYSTON — The Hardyston Township Board of Education approved its 2014-15 budget after a public hearing that was not attended by any members of the public.

    The $13 million budget includes just more than $2 million in state aid, and tax levy that comes out to $9.06 million dollars, $918,357 of which is being used to pay the district's debt.

    What does this budget mean to the average taxpayer? School Business Administrator Jim Sekelsky explained that Hardyston was revalued this year, and that average home value as dropped by approximately $20,000 from last year. The 2013 tax rate was 0.84093 percent and the 2014 tax rate is now .91859 percent. This means the average homeowner, whose home is worth $231,540, will pay $2,126.90. This is an increase of $1.53 per month.

    The district received additional state aid this year: $77,000 in state school choice aid, $7,000 for population growth and another $7,000 in aid to help the district get ready for the new PARCC assessment tests. This comes on top of the usual state aid package and federal funds under the No Child Left Behind and the IDEA acts, according to Superintendent Richard Corbett.

    According to Corbett, the operating expenses in this budget are up 2.5 percent from the budget for the 2013-14 school year. This includes an extra $100,000 for out-of-district placements for special needs students but also reflects a decrease in energy costs. Health benefit costs also went down, as did charter school tuition. The district also is trying to decrease transportation costs, he said.

    According to School Business Administrator Jim Sekelsky, the budget includes three capital projects. At the elementary school, the roof will be repaired and air conditioning units will be installed, while at the middle school, the retaining wall behind the HVAC equipment in the rear of the building will be repaired. With the long difficult winter, the wall heaved and is unstable. It is temporarily being supported, but needs to be replaced.