The Montclair Board of Education's 2013-14 preliminary budget includes no tax levy increase and seven new positions.
The $111.5 million budget is a decease of 3.3 percent from the previous year’s. Montclair taxpayers will foot about 90 percent of the bill.
The budget, however, is still liable to change said Superintendent Penny MacCormack at the presentation on Monday as state and federal aid is not yet know.
“This is part of a longer process,” said MacCormack, “and just simply the beginning.”
Interim Business Administrator Nicolas Puleio said he expects state aid to be funded at the same level as this year, about $6.5 million, which comes to 5.8 percent of the budget. The district was waiting for Gov. Chris Christie’s budget presentation on Tuesday to find out how much it will receive in state aid.
How much the district will receive in federal funds is another matter. Puleio said the district has budgeted a 25 percent decrease in federal aid for different programs in anticipation of the potential sequestration in Washington, or across-the-board cuts in federal aid set to begin Friday.
Next year’s budget plans for $2.2 million in special revenue and entitlements, a 37.3 percent decrease from last year, and $478,000 for the Adult School, a 16.3 percent decrease.
The $13.4 million surplus will also be whittled down to about $1.2 million. The board will use $4.7 of the surplus in the 2012-13 school budget, set aside $2.4 for future projects, $500,00 for maintenance and $2.2 for state-mandated reserves. The remaining funds are dedicated to other sources.
MacCormack said she is interested in creating seven new positions: four dean of students at Bradford, Bullock, Northeast and Watchung elementary schools, and three content supervisors. The dean positions will come with a price tag of $400,000, and content supervisors will cost $354,000.
The growing populations at those four elementary schools, said MacCormack, induced her to recommend appointing deans. The deans will help with discipline and daily operations in order to reduce the workload on principals and allow them to spend more time in classrooms.
The content supervisors would offer advice on developing Common Core State Standards and help with the large number of evaluations at Montclair High School. The supervisors would be experts in English or language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, said MacCormack.
The district must submit its budget to the Essex County superintendent by March 7. The board expects to present and pass a final budge on March 25.