Zero Tax Increase in Proposed School District Budget
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for March 28.
The Ocean City Board of Education approved a preliminary school budget Wednesday night that calls for no tax increase.
Projected spending will increase by 2 percent to reach $38,711,113 for the 2012-13 school year, but a 2 percent increase in anticipated revenues will offset the new expenses.
The bulk of the new revenue comes from the state, which will pay for 68 out-of-district students to attend Ocean City schools as part of the new School Choice Program. The program brings $838,440 ($12,330 per student this year) to the district.
As a result, Ocean City is proposing a tax levy of $21,640,721 — the exact same figure as last year.
The district must submit the preliminary budget to the state by Monday (March 5), and a public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, in the Community Room at Ocean City High School. The public hearing will include more detail on proposed spending and revenues.
Because the proposed tax levy increase is zero, the public will not have to vote to approve the budget. A new law passed earlier this year allowed Ocean City to move school elections to November, and the same law said the public must vote only on budgets that exceed the state's 2 percent cap on tax levy increases.
Ocean City will be able to "bank" $432,814 from this year if it needs to exceed the cap in any of the next three years. With $75,000 banked from last year, the district now has a $507,814 cushion.
The School Choice Program is seen by the district as a way to offset declining enrollment and tuition from sending districts outside Ocean City. The new revenue from the program helped lower proposed tuition rates from the sending districts, according to Business Administrator Tom Grossi.
The following is detail on general fund revenues:
|Deferred State Aid||$0||$346,687||$346,687|
|School Choice Aid||$0||$838,440||$838,440|
|Ed Jobs Fund||$72,200||$0||($72,200)||(100%)|