A Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school Lecture Hall to adopt a preliminary budget.
“In the next couple weeks we have a lot of things to do with getting our budget together,” board President Eric Schubiger said, adding that the district will be working “diligently” during the limited window they were given to adopt a budget.
At the next school board meeting on Monday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m., the district will do a formal presentation on the budget.
A public hearing will be held in the Lecture Hall on Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m.
“Right now we don’t have the final numbers from the state regarding state aid. We don’t have a firm grasp of what’s going to happen with federal money with the fiscal cliff coming in March,” school board member Jack Martenak said.
The district expects to have state aid figures by Thursday, Feb. 28 and will be meeting with township Committee members soon to discuss shared services.
Funding could be impacted if Congress fails to halt $85 billion in sequestration spending cuts scheduled to take hold March 1, the White House said Sunday. Funding for education in New Jersey would be slashed by nearly $30 million.
But Superintendent Dr. Sandra Brower said it’s “too early to tell” how those potential cuts could affect the district.
“We are still in budget development,” she said.
New programs such as the implementation of full day kindergarten for the 2013-14 school year as well as technology, random drug testing and school safety initiatives would not be impacted, she said.
“My hope is that there will always be additional state aid to offset the cost of education that is placed on the local taxpayer,” she said.
Last year, the district adopted a budget that included a $99 tax increase on the average homeowner. The board adopted a $64,216,897 spending plan that calls for a $40,090,630 tax levy, a 1.7 percent increase over 2011-12's $39,413,121 levy and the first hike after two years of zero percent budgeting.
The 2012-13 operating budget included the for 2012-13, from 2011 that the district deferred to the current school year and $1.2 million for solar renewable energy credits.
Also last year, the board voted in favor of moving its board elections to November, which eliminated the budget vote if spending plans remain under the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap.
If Lacey’s budget does exceed the 2 percent tax levy cap, a referendum would be required.