The Asbury Park Board of Education approved an operating school budget for the 2019-2020 school year totaling $65,149,591. The approval came at a special board meeting April 29 at Bradley School attended by six of the board’s nine members. No one from the public spoke at the meeting.
The result is a school tax levy of $8,899,447 with a rate of 0.54-cents per hundred dollars of assessed valuation, amounting to an increase of $270 a year, $22.50 a month for a home valued at $360,000. The increase is the result of an overall increase in ratables and an increase in the value of individual properties.
Budget details were spelled out in presentations by Superintendent Sancha Gray and School Business Administrator Geoff Hastings. They pointed out that state aid for the district has been declining annually in recent years, with the city losing more than $5.6 Million in state aid, or 10.23 percent since 2016. State aid represents about 76 percent of the district’s operating budget.
Breaking down the budget, the largest costs are for salaries, 49 percent and benefits, 20 percent, and 13 percent goes for charter school tuition.
In her presentation, Superintendent Gray outlined the district’s instructional programming providing hope and opportunity for all students in the district, and the “Moral Imperative” based on the reality that an 18-year-old who does not have the skills to be college and career ready is effectively sentenced to a lifetime of marginal employment and second-class citizenship.
Enrollment in Asbury Park’s public schools has also been declining. In the current school year it is 2,209, down from 2,415. The district has 475 employees in five schools, the High School, Middle School and three elementary schools.
Voters do not have a say in the school budget. School Board elections have been moved to the November general election ballot, but the budget is no longer voted on. The full budget is available in a user-friendly format on the district website, www.AsburyPark.K12.NJ.US.