High School District to Review $1.7M in State Aid for 2012-2013
The additional state aid will not be used in the 2011-2012 district budget or as property tax relief this year.
At the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education meeting on Monday, July 25, Superintendent Charles Sampson informed the public that the additional funding provided to the district by the state will be utilized for the 2012-2013 school year.
“The option of giving [the state aid] back to the taxpayers is still on the table,” Sampson said. “What we refused to do was make a decision in a 48-hour period about how we were going to do that.”
The Freehold Regional High School District received an additional $1,717,860 from the state on July 12 when Gov. Chris Christie’s office announced that $600 million in state aid would be distributed among school districts across New Jersey.
“We felt that the prudent decision was not to convene the board in some ad hoc manner to make a rush decision to give it back when we still have that option available to us next year, when we can sit and actually make a more informed decision,” Sampson added.
Assistant Superintendent and Business Administrator Sean P. Boyce said that the district has four options for the added funds. The first option, which required an expeditious decision, was to impart tax relief to the municipalities. Boyce agreed with Sampson about the 48-hour time limit being too restrictive.
The next option was to calculate the $1.7 million “into the current year’s budget,” Boyce said. “So, recognize it as revenue and offset it with an additional appropriation; that is not our recommendation at this time.”
The last two options allow the district to utilize the money for the 2012-2013 school year, according to Boyce. The first of which is to use the money to provide a property tax relief; the second option is to put the additional aid towards the operating expenses of the district.
“One of the unique situations with the 2012-2013 budget is that the current year’s budget has an educational jobs funds — federal aid - that’s a one time shot and we have no expectation whatsoever that we will be receiving that aid again next year,” Boyce said. “Coincidentally, [the educational jobs funds is] about the same number as the additional state aid.” Boyce reported the educational jobs funds to be about $1,763,514.
Boyce said that all options are preserved for the board to make for 2012-2013. Therefore, the board could decide to put the money towards property tax relief, to offset the drop-off in federal revenue, or to support programs.
In terms of state aid for next year, which the district will find out about in February or March of 2012, Boyce said that the district will see what situation it is in and will deal with the finances at that time.