Toms River’s Regional School District Board of Education at a public hearing Wednesday night, held in the auditorium of .
The total budget amount has increased nearly $4 million over the 2011-12 school year, which was in excess of $200 million. This year’s budget, according to the district, accounts for increases in the areas of contractual/salary costs, special education tuition, plus an increase in anticipated fuel costs — and is offset by a reduction in budgeted health care costs. The district has also stated this budget maintains funding for existing staff positions and programs.
District-Wide Tax Levy Impact
District officials have stated that the spending plan for the upcoming year falls more than $1 million under the state-mandated 2 percent cap on the tax levy.
The total anticipated tax levy revenue for Toms River Regional Schools will be $132.719 million, up more than $1.6 million from last year. School taxes are only a portion of the property tax bill each property owner pays, along with municipal and other property taxes.
In the Toms River Regional School District, the four towns which comprise it — Toms River, South Toms River, Pine Beach and Beachwood — pay a tax rate derived from the size of each town’s ratable base. As the business landscape changes in each town annually, their rates are then re-determined accordingly. That redetermination, of course, directly affects what each town contributes to the annual school budget.
Therefore, residents Toms River and Pine Beach will see their school tax rate increase with the 2012-13 budget, while South Toms River and Beachwood residents will see their school tax rate go down.
Toms River, Pine Beach Residents Have Increased School Tax Rate
For Toms River residents, the tax rate will grow 3.96 cents to $0.7785 per $100 of assessed valuation, up from $0.7389 per $100 of assessed valuation.
In Toms River, where the 2011 average home assessment was marked at $355,082, the approved school tax could amount to a $140 increase, for a $2,764 annual tax payment total.
Residents of Pine Beach will see an increase of 0.04 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in the approved budget. Therefore, they would be assessed a tax rate of $0.7853 per $100, up from $0.7849 in 2011-12.
In Pine Beach, where the 2011 average home assessment is at $327,800, the school tax totals out to an annual proposed tax payment of $2,574, an increase of $1 over last year’s total.
Beachwood & South Toms River Residents Will See School Tax Rates Drop
In contrast, residents in Beachwood will see a decrease of 0.1 cents per $100 of assessed valuation from last year’s budget, which would amount to an annual tax bill of about $2 less than that for the 2011-2012 school year.
Beachwood residents will be assessed a tax rate of $0.7304 per $100, down from $0.7314. In Beachwood, where the average home in 2011 was valued at $259,700, the school tax rate totals out to an annual tax payment of $1,897, two dollars less than last year.
South Toms River's approved school tax rate would drop 0.6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation from last year, or an annual savings of $12.60 over the 2011-2012 budget.
South Toms River residents will be assessed a tax rate of $0.7258 per $100 of assessed value, down from $0.7318. The 2011 average home assessment in South Toms River was calculated at $213,588, therefore, the school tax rate amounts to an annual tax payment of $1,550.
School District Accounts For Aid & Tuition Increases, Expenses, Savings
In addition to being under the 2 percent levy cap, Toms River Regional School Board members noted that their budget is less than what the state Department of Education recommended that it spends for a district of its size, an “adequacy value”, by $34 million.
They have similarly touted the increase in both state aid and tuition payments this year as being able to help fund the 2012-2013 school budget.
State aid will go up this year by $2.9 million, for a grand total of $67.278 million — while the district will also anticipate an increase in $23,000 from its sending-receiving arrangements, for a total of $916,176.
Regarding increased expenses, the cost of regular instruction is increasing by $2 million, to a total of $63,662,589. The total cost of special education expenses will be increased $900,000 for a grand total of $15,383,891.
Costs for basic skills and remedial education costs will go up by $171,000, for a final total of $1.213 million. Bilingual education will cost in the 2012-2013 budget an increase of $20,000 over last year’s amount.
The Toms River School District anticipates a savings of over $100,000 in electricity costs for the upcoming school year, due to the installation of solar panels on 11 school roofs, in addition to savings from the continued use of a four-tier busing transportation system.
The district also plans to save money by also continuing to employ the use of cooperative bids for materials and supply orders, and stated that it did not apply for waivers to the 2 percent levy cap to cover healthcare or pension costs.