HIGHLANDS, NJ – On Monday, March 21, 2011, the Highlands Elementary Board of Education adopted a revised 2011-2012 budget, which now represents a zero tax levy increase. Dr. George, Interim Superintendent of Schools, presented the budget to the Board Members and audience. He reported, “This Board of Education developed the 2011-2012 budget in accordance with the District’s Mission Statement to ensure that each student has the opportunity to become an independent and critical thinker on the path to becoming a life-long learner.” The District’s budget will decrease $133,169, or 3.6% from the 2010-2011 budget. The District worked diligently over the past several months to identify cost saving measures, while preparing to develop a fiscally sound budget according to the mandates developed by the NJ Department of Education.
These efforts include entering into shared services agreements with the Hazlet Township School District to operate the business office, which will save the District over $60,000 annually and interim superintendent services, which save the District an additional $6,000 each month. Other cost saving measures contributed to the total budgetary reduction of $133,169. These combined savings will provide the taxpayers of Highlands with a zero tax levy increase and also support the rigorous academic programs provided for the students.
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“Our Board is dedicated to meeting the needs of all of our students through a comprehensive educational program, while minimizing the impact on our taxpayers,” stated Karen Horner, Board of Education President.
“The Highlands Borough Board of Education was pleased to be able to revise our budget and present our residents with no tax increase,” said Karen Horner. A combination of the additional State and Federal aid, combined with prudent budgetary reductions allow the District’s tax rate to remain flat at just 56 cents, per $100 of assessed value.
Next year’s operating budget will be less than $3.6 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the current budget and over $250,000 lower than the 2009-2010 budget. “We are going to operate next year with a budget that is 6.6% less than the 2009-2010 budget and requires no tax increase, without compromising the integrity of the education provided to our students,” explained Dr. William O. George, Interim Superintendent of Schools.