Proposed school budget up for an OK Monday

Thomas A. Smith, superintendent, Hopewell Valley schools
   The following letter was written to members of the Hopewell Valley community:
Each year at this time, district administration presents our proposed budget to the Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education. The budget was developed with detailed input from administrators and principals in combination with figures from existing labor agreements, insurance estimates, general fund revenues, plus state aid and debt service.
   Our total budget for the 2014-15 school year is $78,814,766, which will result in a 1.9 percent tax levy increase. The board will vote on the budget at our annual budget hearing on April 28 at 7:30 p.m.
   Our challenge each year is to develop a budget that is fiscally responsible while maintaining the excellence we expect. The development of this budget actually began last fall when we met with administration to review prior and current year expenditures and plan not just for next year, but for the next three years.
   We developed this year’s budget with the following priorities in mind:
   • Providing a rigorous academic program that meets or exceeds mandates of the Core Curriculum Content Standards;
   • Maintaining all existing programs and services;
   • Providing, and expanding when possible, elective, curricular and athletic opportunities;
   • Eliminating the student activity fee;
   • Developing our STEM and Performing Arts magnet programs;
   • Providing class sizes in accordance with Board of Education policies;
   • Expanding and improving district technology and infrastructure which will also assist us in the preparation for the PARCC assessment next spring.
   Our budget also includes funding to maintain and improve our district facilities. We have over a quarter million square feet of building space that was constructed between 1929 and 1961. We are committed to ensuring that these facilities remain safe, secure, and function properly for our students and community.
   It is my sincere belief that our proposed budget is fiscally responsible, achieves our goals and supports our work to provide an excellent education to over 3,700 students whom we serve on a daily basis.
   I invite you to review the budget information available on our website at and to attend our budget hearing on April 28.
Thomas A. Smith
Hopewell Valley schools