Preliminary School Budget Proposes 1.8% Tax Increase
Mahwah's budget considers adding a few staff members and taking on some facilities improvements this year
The Mahwah Board of Education proposed a preliminary $64.8M budget for the 2013-14 school year Wednesday night. The budget calls for a 1.8% increase in school taxes.
The majority of the budget, about $57.6M, will come from the local tax base, district Business Administrator Ed Deptula said during a preliminary budget presentation Wednesday night.
“The good news is that state aid stayed the same,” he said, so Mahwah will once again be getting over $2.3M from the state. The rest of the funding for the 2013 budget comes from grants, capital reserve money and other sources of income to the school, like renting out facilities, he said.
Some of the considerations in this year’s budget include hiring a full-time social studies supervisor. Currently, one supervisor oversees both the social studies and world languages departments.
Splitting the position would be “the right thing to do to maintain our level of excellence,” Assistant Superintendent Janet Donohue said at the Board meeting Wednesday night.
The budget also proposes adding a part-time language teacher who would teach a new language the district would like to start offering at the high school – Mandarin Chinese.
The other major components of the budget, Deptula said, are facilities upgrades to the district’s schools. The upgrades include adding air conditioning to the Joyce Kilmer multipurpose room and the high school gym, replacing the roof on the original building at Ramapo Ridge, and upgrading the electric switching system at Mahwah High School.
Though most of that work would likely take place this summer, Deptula said the complicated electrical switching project likely won’t happen until the summer of 2014.
Over the next three weeks, Deptula said he will give more specific details about the budget during presentations each Wednesday night. Budget specifics can be changed before it is passed at the end of the month, he said.
Board members thanked Deptula for keeping the budget – which will not be voted on by Mahwah residents – under the 2% tax levy cap.
“That was the biggest criticism of any board [that switched to the November school board elections and eliminated the budget vote last year], that it would guarantee a 2% tax increase every year,” Board President Tricia Shada said. “[This budget shows] we’re not going to go to the maximum if we don’t have to.”