State Aid for South Orange-Maplewood School District Remains Level

by The Village Green
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Despite enrollment increases and other stresses on district finances, the South Orange-Maplewood School District will receive the same amount of aid from the State of New Jersey for the 2015/16 school year as it did for the 2014/15 school year.

Those numbers and more will be discussed at a special budget hearing to be held by the Board of Education at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 at the Administration Building at 525 Academy Street.

“State aid figures are exactly the same as last year,” wrote SOMSD Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider in an email.

State aid was announced to districts throughout New Jersey on Thursday, Feb. 27. South Orange-Maplewood’s aid breaks down as follows:

Transportation Aid: $282,031

Special Education Categ. Aid: $3,630,949

Security Aid: $162,918

PARCC Readiness Aid (added last year): $70,160

Per Pupil Growth Aid (added last year): $70,160

Total State aid for 2015-16 (same as 14-15):  $4,216,218


At the last Board of Education meeting on Feb. 23, Schneider said that the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education would be looking at passing a budget of $122,264,211 for 2015/16 with $108,694,377 coming from the local tax levy. Schneider said that district staff were considering asking the Board of Education to go above the 2% tax increase cap to get another $300,000 — depending on the state aid announcement. At that time, Schneider was projecting that state aid would remain level — a projection that has been borne out.

At the same meeting, Board of Education members discussed the possibility of asking the towns of Maplewood and South Orange to make contributions to the school district from PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) that the towns were receiving from property developers. Read a report of the conversation here.

The South Orange-Maplewood School District is looking to deliver the 2015/16 budget to Essex County by March 16, after community workshops and hearings on March 4 and 12. There will be public comment periods after the Board of Education’s discussions at both meetings. See the full March 4 meeting agenda here.

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