Verona residents have plenty of uncertainty to deal with on the tax front these days. What the recent property tax reval will mean to household bottom lines probably won’t be known until the summer, after the town’s fiscal year starts. The school budget is in limbo, too, but for an entirely different reason.
School officials announced at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting that the school budget portion of residents’ tax bill won’t be determined until at least mid-March. That’s because the administration of newly elected Governor Chris Christie will need extra time to calculate the state-mandated cap on local school spending increases.
While waiting for the state to issue that number, board members are working out various scenarios using an anticipated budget cap of between 2% and 4%. Fortunately, the district should not need to hire any additional teaching staff. Superintendent Charles Sampson has been able to earmark some “must-do” items, such as a new writing program for grades K through 4, an area where, he says, “state assessments reflect the greatest need.” The district is also planning to offer several upgrades at the high school, including new textbooks, AP Physics, a renovated media center and district-wide computer upgrades.