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April 27, 2011

Re:    Defeated School Budgets

Dear Mayor:

Today is School Board Election Day.  Although the polls are still open and the votes are not yet tallied we wanted to provide you advance guidance on defeated school budgets given the short time frame governing bodies have to review and take action.

Defeated school budgets are reviewed by the municipal governing body in consultation with the board of education. Generally, the municipality may - but is not required to - reduce the size of the school tax levy requested by the board.  If the municipality makes any reductions it must back up its decision by identifying corresponding reductions in school expenditures. The school board is not bound by these particular spending cuts, but it must live with the tax levy certified by the municipal governing body.

Under the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), a municipality may not reduce the tax levy below the district’s minimum tax levy.  Therefore, when voters reject a budget with a tax levy no higher than the state-required local share, the municipality cannot make any reductions.

School boards may apply to the state Department of Education’s Division of Finance for restoration of reductions made by the municipality. 

Important 2011 Dates for Defeated Type II School Budgets, including Regional Schools

  • School Election date – Wednesday, April 27th
  • Within 2 days School Board must report Certification of Election Results to County Offices
  • By May 5th the School Board must deliver the proposed budget defeated by voters to the governing body
  • By Thursday, May 19th - Last day for the governing body after consultation with the board of education to determine and certify to the county board of taxation the amount of money necessary for school purposes to be raised by taxation for the ensuing school year.
  • Within 10 working days after the governing body determination the Board of Education may submit an application to the Executive County Superintendent for restoration of some or all reductions, with a copy of the application to the governing body.
  • Within 10 working days after the receipt of the board of education’s application for restoration of funds, the governing body may submit to the Executive County Superintendent any comments on the board’s application, with a copy to the board of education
  • As a reminder there is no statutory or regulatory deadline for the Department of Education Commissioner’s decision on Applications for restorations to be finalized before tax bills are mailed.  Generally decisions are completed by the end of August.

The Department of Education has released their Defeated Budget information.  This information can be found at www.nj.gov/education/finance/fp/dwb/defeated/

We will continue to keep you apprise of any additional information related to defeated school budgets.  If you have any questions or need additional information please contact Lori Buckelew at lbuckelew@njslom.com or 609-695-3481 x112.

Very Truly Yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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