School could get an aid increase

Cranbury could see a three percent increase in state school aid.

By: Matthew Kirdahy
   Cranbury School could get an increase in state aid this year.
   Gov. James McGreevey proposed $200 million in state aid to schools this year, which could mean a 3 percent increase for Cranbury.
   If the state budget is approved, Cranbury would receive $648,732 in aid, up from 629,837, which is the same amount the district has received for the past three years. State aid accounts for 6 percent of Cranbury’s overall budget.
   "We’re very pleased at our increase to help offset the burden placed on taxpayers," School Business Administrator Brian DeLucia said. "Even though the state said it was recalculating the state aid figures, we expected a decrease."
   The Board of Education will introduce its spending plan Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Cranbury School large group instruction room.
   "We originally thought there would be a 6-cent increase in the tax rate for next year’s budget, but we’re not completely sure," Mr. DeLucia said. "We expect the Finance Committee to make cuts and lower that. They are working diligently."
   In April 2003, voters approved an $11.56 million 2003-2004 budget that increased taxes 7.8 percent and spending 18 percent.
   The plan carried a tax rate increase of 15.64 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The current school tax rate is $2.17 per $100 of assessed valuation. Under that rate, the owner of a house assessed at the township average of $215,000 paid $4,665 in school taxes, an increase of $336.
   The budget was $1.7 million larger than the 2002-2003 plan. Approximately 56 percent of that increase was attributable to an increase in tuition for students to attend Princeton High School, $3.3 million for the current year compared to $2.3 million the previous year. The cost for special education use of the resource room at PHS totaled $93,174 and was included in the tuition.