What is a School Operating Budget?
An operating budget is composed of all necessary expenses to keep the school operating on a daily basis for a fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.
How is the School Budget Determined?
Superintendent Dr. Salvatore Constantino and Business Administrator Thomas Kryger work hand in hand with School Principals and our Teaching Staff to formulate the budget line by line, starting each account with zero dollars. Each group formulates their budgets based solely on the needs of their programs, not based on prior year expenditures. This process, known as zero-based budgeting, ensures that each proposed budget item is evaluated based upon the impact it will have on maintaining or improving the quality of education currently provided to our children.
What are the Expenses Covered by the 2015-2016 Budget?
Salaries – $9,300,291 (53.0%)
Transportation and Plant Maintenance – $1,051,312 (6.0%)
Tuition – $369,310 (2.1%)
Employee Benefits – $3,542.320,621 (20.2%)
Energy – $337,500 (1.9%)
Variable Costs – $1,762,156 (10.1%)
Debt Service – $1,178,925 (6.7%)
Where Does the Money Come From to Support the Budget?
Local Taxes – $14,382,115 (82.0%)
Local/Transportation Revenue – $1,403,876 (8.0%)
State Aid – $430,042 (2.45%)
Debt Service Revenue – $1,178,925 (6.72%)
Grants/Other – $146,856 (0.83%)
How Does the Tax Levy Compare to Prior Years?
The 2015-2016 budget comes with a 1.77% increase to the local tax levy. This increase in the tax levy is amongst the lowest in the last 10 years as indicated in the chart below. Just five years ago in 2009-2010, state aid for Mendham Township was $768,000. State aid to Mendham Township is $430,042 for the 2015-2016 school year, a difference of over $330,000. Despite increasing expenses in fixed costs such as insurance, utilities, salaries, and transportation, that came to well over $600,000, we are pleased to present a budget that has a minimal impact on the tax levy for the citizens of Mendham Township, while continuing to provide our students with a world-class education.
School Year Tax Levy Difference % Change
2004-2005 10,595,451 427,920 4.21%
2005-2006 11,458,965 863,514 8.15%
2006-2007 11,887,760 425,795 3.94%
2007-2008 12,466,917 579,157 4.87%
2008-2009 12,911,684 444,767 3.77%
2009-2010 13,428,151 516,467 4.09%
2010-2011 13,895,226 467,075 4.31%
2011-2012 13,895,226 0 0
2012-2013 13,895,226 0 0
2013-2014 13,895,226 0 0
2014-2015 14,132,426 237,200 1.72%
2015-2016 14,382,115 249,689 1.77%
The 2015-2016 MTSD Budget will be calculated at a tax rate of $.8234 per $100 of assessment. This is a combination of the increase in the local tax levy, changes in the tax rate, and a decrease in the Township Rateables of $2,065,957. The average assessed value of a home at $891,709 will have tax increase for the year, of $125. The tax rate can be computed at about $8.23 for every $100,000 of assessed home value – for the year.
Where Can I Review a Copy of the Budget?
Once approved by the Department of Education, the 2015-2016 Budget is available on the Board of Education’s website, www.mendhamtwp.org. Specific questions can be directed to the District’s Business Office, (973) 543-7107 x230.
Continued Fiscal Responsibility is Our Goal
The Mendham Township Board of Education is very proud of the proposed 2015-2016 school district budget, and believes that it represents a sound fiscal plan for our school district. This year, the board faced serious challenges resulting from a 14% increase in health benefit costs ($140,000) and increases in contractual salaries totaling $228,000. These increases alone, represent $368,000 and a 2.6% increase in the tax levy.
The Administration and the Board of Education conducted an extremely detailed analysis of this budget and made significant reductions in all areas to arrive upon our proposal. Despite the increases mentioned above of over $368,000 (2.6%) in fixed costs, our proposal only increases the tax levy by $249,689 (1.77%). This budget reflects the Board’s understanding of the challenging financial times everyone faces. The Board and the District Administration’s fiscal responsibility is evidenced through its long history of efficiency efforts that include shared services with the Township and neighboring school districts; participating in multiple purchasing cooperatives and insurance jointures; rebidding of professional services; and refinancing district debt. Additionally, the District operates the 2nd most efficient Transportation Department in the entire State of New Jersey. This recognition is achieved by the District providing busing to three public school districts and over 10 private schools.
Student Achievement Continues to Impress
The achievement of MTSD students continues to accelerate to impressive heights despite the fiscal woes that loom over public education. This year the Mendham Township Middle School was named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education AND a NJ Reward School for consistent high achievement for the fourth year in a row. Mendham Township Elementary School was named a NJ Reward School for the third time in four years. While MTES continues its impressive climb to becoming one of the top Elementary Schools in the state, MTMS remains the Highest Performing Middle School in the State of NJ. We are quite proud of the work of our talented students and teachers who continue to raise the bar on our success.
In recent years, we have updated the District’s computer infrastructure, installed Smart Boards in all classrooms, and introduced many new, tech related instructional pedagogy that have enriched learning for all students. This year we have expanded this initiative by updating three computer labs, installing a wireless network at the Elementary School, updating our mobile laptop carts with over 250 new laptops at the Middle School, and for the first time, introducing Chromebook technology for our grade 3 and 4 students at the Elementary School. Much of the success of the District’s technology initiatives have been achieved through partnerships with the Home and School Association, Education Foundation, and through donations from many supportive community members.
How can I find out more?
The Administration will be offering several presentations to the public. The current calendar is listed below and as more dates are added, please check our website for details.
Wednesday, April 22 – 10:00 AM
Budget Chat, Mendham Township Elementary School
Wednesday, April 22 – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Budget Chat, Mendham Township Elementary School
Tuesday, April 28 – 7:30 PM
Budget Presentation, Mendham Township Board of Education
Monday, May 11 – 7:00 PM
Mendham Township Committee Meeting