The Brick Township Board of Education unanimously approved the introduction of the district’s tentative 2022-23 school budget, which will be reviewed by a county-level superintendent before an expected adoption next month.
The budget increases school spending by $1,276,431, from $160,822,267 in the current school year budget to $162,098,698 in the proposed plan for next year. The tax levy to support the budget would increase from $117,391,709 to $118,333,977, or the equivalent of about 0.8 percent.
Superintendent Thomas Farrell said school officials were able to keep the tax increase down even while the budget rose because of the retirement of debt. The preliminary budget document announced alongside a meeting agenda showed the district making $601,274 in debt service payments, with some being paid by sources other than property taxes. The 2022-23 debt service obligation is significant less than the $1,952,947 in debt owed last year by the district, with $1.7 million being paid directly through residents’ property taxes.
The 0.8 percent increase in the tax levy was achieved despite the district seeing a massive $4.7 million cut in state funding this year. The devastating cuts, which have led to a reduction in staff positions in recent years, will add up to more than $25 million annually after being phased in completely. Brick faces two more years of funding cuts from Trenton.
With the tentative budget now have been introduced by the board, it will be reviewed by the Ocean County Executive Superintendent of Schools before coming back to the board for a public hearing and formal adoption. That meeting will be held at the Brick Professional Development Center, located in the central administration building at the Veterans Complex, on April 28 at 7 p.m.