The Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education has decided to implement a full-day kindergarten beginning in September 2014, according to a letter released by district Superintendent John J. Marciante.
“Given the increased demands of the Common Core State Standards, it is not in the best interest of our students to delay full-day kindergarten implantation any longer,” Marciante said.
Space will be made available for the additional kindergarten students in Clark Mills, Taylor Mills, and Milford Brook Schools, according to the superintendent. The Department of Education has not yet responded to the Board’s appeal for funding to create more classroom space, however.
The 2014-2015 budget will be broadened over the next few months to include this change, but the majority of the funding for the full-day kindergarten will come from the budget cap bank, Marciante said. The Board of Education has worked to keep the district tax increase under 2 percent, regardless of any permitted exemptions. One of the areas that is exempt from the 2 percent cap is health benefits, and an increase in health benefits costs surpassed the benchmark established by the state during the past two years, according to the superintendent.
“While the district budget could have gone above 2 percent, we worked to meet our budgetary requirements within the 2 percent tax increase,” Marciante said in the letter. “By statute, the amount not raised in taxes was recorded and placed in the cap bank for a three-year period. The cap bank is basically a record of the amount that can be added to the tax levy within that period”
The money within the cap bank will be utilized to finance the full-day kindergarten. This means that the tax levy within the 2014-2015 budget will be about 4 percent, which meets all statutory demands.