A rarity in New Jersey – a school tax decrease – is on the way for Seaside Park residents.
Borough taxpayers will receive what amounts to a nearly 20 percent decrease in the overall levy from the Central Regional school district, to which Seaside Park sends its students.
For the current school year, Seaside Park residents paid $4,564,000 to the regional district, which educates students in grades seven through 12. For the coming school year, Seaside Park residents will pay $3,822,000, said Council President Michael Tierney.
For years, Seaside Park has had a cantankerous relationship with the Central Regional district over financial inequities when it comes to taxation. Most of the residences in the other municipalities the district serves have lower real estate assessments than Seaside Park, leading the small barrier island community to shoulder a significantly larger percentage of the district budget than the student population it sends. At one point, it cost over $100,000 per child for them to attend school in the district.
“It’s a big deal,” said Tierney. “We have more children in the lower school than we do in the high school, and that’s what he reduction is about.”
There is a complicated formula that determines how much money Seaside Park must contribute to the district, which is calculated by the proportion of students in various grade levels. The good news for taxpayers, Tierney said, is that with borough students having been granted permission to attend Lavallette Elementary School next year, the tax burden may – once again – be reduced.
“It’s tremendous for everybody who ever thought we pay too much for Central Regional,” Tierney added.
As with the operational budget levy, Seaside Park residents will contribute a smaller amount to the regional district’s debt service. For the current year, Seaside Park paid $216,000 in debt service, which will be reduced to $118,900 for the 2016-17 school year.