Dear HTS Community:
2012 has brought some new and exciting changes to HTS. In January, state legislators proposed and Governor Christie signed into law (A-4394/S3148), which provided municipalities and boards of education an opportunity to move the April Board of Education elections to November, where they would coincide with the general election. Last month, the Harding Township Board of Education voted to move the April election to November, effective immediately.
According to a statement released by the nonpartisan New Jersey Office of Legislative Services, districts could realize savings of 0.08% of their annual budget by moving the elections to the fall. For the Harding Township Board of Education, we anticipate annual savings of approximately $4,000. Moreover, the school budget process will be streamlined. Acting Commissioner of Education Christopher Cerf explained, “The passage of this Bipartisan law provides both school budget savings and increased voter participation in the process.”
Under this new law, school budgets that fall within the 2% property tax cap would not have to be voted on by the community. School districts would still be required to submit its budget to the Executive County Superintendent in March and hold an annual public hearing later that month. Lastly, the public would vote for individual board of education members at the November election.
The 2012-2013 HTS budget is both student-centered and sustainable. It embodies, in spirit and in fiscal reality, the budget guidelines previously developed and approved by the Board of Education. The increase to the tax levy is only 1.78%, below the state mandated cap of 2%. Moreover, this budget protects all educational and co-curricular programs and staffing – one of our stated goals.
Since our budget is less than the cap, our school budget will not be submitted to the voters. We will, however, continue to hold our annual hearing (this year on Monday, March 26th at 7:30p.m. in the Library/Media Center) and send home our Budget Notes newsletter to the entire community.
We look forward to a fantastic finish to the 2011-2012 school year and an even better 2012-2013.