SPF School District Receives 90k State Aid Increase For 2013-2014

The state released projected aid for NJ school districts on Feb. 28.

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood school district will receive a 3.3 percent increase of a little over $90,000 dollars in state aid, according to the state aid numbers released on Feb. 28.

On the afternoon of Feb. 28 the state released the projected aid amounts for all school districts in New Jersey showing a 3.3 percent increase in aid for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District.

Originally, the board had budgeted for the state aid to remain flat, but now they are projected to receive an additional $90,124, according to the government document.

This goes back to what Board President Trip Whitehouse said at the last Board of Education meeting, when he pointed out to the public that although they are budgeting for aid to remain flat, it could go the other way and they could get additional state aid. 

However, the board budgeted for a 30 percent reduction in their federal grants due to potential sequestration, according to business administrator Deborah Saridaki. The grant numbers will not be available for several months, she said.

Although the district is receiving an additional $90,124 in state aid, once the debt service is subtracted what they are really looking out is an amount of $34,698. 

"Our “Assessment for Debt Service on SDA funding,” which is deducted from our State Aid, was increased by $58,142 over 2012-13 and $55,426 over our budgeted amount," Saridaki said. "Which nets the District additional dollars of $34,698 over our budgeted numbers." 

Nearby, the Westfield School district will only receive $1 more than the previous year, while Mountainside will see a 1.2 percent increase of $1,570.

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood district received the third highest bump in Union County behind New Providence (3.5) and Springfield (18.3).

The Board has already planned an additional budget meeting on March 6 to adjust the budget based on the state aid numbers before they present it to the county on March 7.

Brian Mattison February 28, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Property tax decrease ?
Rich Fortunato March 01, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Not sure that it will result in a decrease, more likely a reduction in the increase. Trip Whitehouse said at the last meeting that if they received more than expected, they'd have to decide whether to apply the extra to reduce the taxes that they'd need, or instead put the extra into the capital reserve account. I got the impression that they'd set the budget up to use some of the capital reserve and would want to replenish that (or use less of it) if they got unexpected money from the state. So my thought would be that we shouldn't get our hopes up for a reduction in the announced tax increases.
Nicole Bitette March 01, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Thanks, Rich.
march March 03, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Christie saw the school budget as a perennial monster for every township in the state. He purposefully tried to cap the amount of spending to limit property tax increases like this...why would taxes still increase if we have appropriated the funds with this new aid?
Nicole Bitette March 04, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Hi March, The board is still awaiting the numbers on the federal grants which they budgeted 30 percent less than the 2012-2013 school year. Also, even though they received a little over 90k, once the debt service was accounted for it ended up only being a little over 34k. The next meeting (March 6) will be the budget they present to the county, but I'm not sure if the federal grant numbers will be in by then.


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