The Belleville Board of Education passed the final 2012-2013 school budget containing a zero dollar tax increase
The budget passed at a meeting Monday night and includes no tax increase for a home assessed at $244,562, which is the average value of a home in Belleville, according to Edward Appleton, board of education secretary/business administrator. This is the second year in a row that the average tax bill has not risen.
The $61.3 million budget goes before voters April 17 for approval or rejection, and contains no reductions in instructional personnel, including all teachers. There are no cuts to academic programs, afterschool clubs or athletic programs, said Superintendent of Schools Joseph Picardo. The budget increased by more than $650,000 from the 2011-2012 budget, Appleton said.
The zero increase was accomplished through reductions in staff health insurance premiums, taking from available surplus, and the first-ever decrease in spending on employee benefits, said John Rivera, the school board trustee who chaired the school budget committee.
“We wanted to come in at a zero increase for a second year in a row, and we did it,” Rivera said.
A large increase was reported in spending in special education spending, among many places where costs increased. State aid rose by more than $578,000, bringing total state aid to more than $1.9 million, a trend officials said they hope will continue.
Not a single resident at the meeting spoke in opposition to the budget.