Members of the Green Brook Board of Education have been reviewing the 2013-14 school budget under development, and last week heard an update on the proposed transportation and special services budgets.
The special services budget, which includes not only special education but also tuition paid to Watchung Hills Regional High School for students attending the school, presents the most challenging budgeting issues.
"Our proposed special services budget... will be approximately $1.2 million more than last year’s due to an increase of slightly more than 6 percent over the past two years in per pupil tuition for our high school students that attend WHRHS," Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe said. "In fact, after tuition adjustments from both this year and last year, our WHRHS tuition line increased by about 15 percent."
The tuition is determined by the number of students attending the school, as well as the percentage of the student body they comprise. The budget is projecting an increase of $897,289 for WHRHS tuition.
In addition to the high school tuition, the special services budget also projects an increase of $152,520 for tuitions for special education students and just under $60,000 in other tuition costs.
According to presentation, the special services budget will rise by $1,160,931 to $8,384,293, a 16.5 percent increase.
Mitigating the increase in the special services budget will be a projected $56,894 decrease in transportation costs, largely through reduced repair and maintenance costs.
The board will conclude the dissection of the budget at its March 4 meeting, when the proposed budgets for co-curricular and personnel costs will be reviewed.
That meeting will also following the budget address by Gov. Chris Christie and the announcement of state aid the district can anticipate. Once those figures are in hand, the board can finalize a budget proposal, which must be submitted to the Department of Education by March 7.