Press releases

Hillsborough Board of Education To Send Referendum to Local Voters in March

JAN 8 -- At the first Hillsborough Board of Education meeting of 2019, members of the Board authorized a referendum to be placed on the ballot for Hillsborough voters on March 12. Residents will be asked to vote on Hillsborough Township Public Schools’ plan to invest in the future of the district by implementing a full-day kindergarten program as well as assisting the Board in laying out a plan for long-term financial stability.


If approved by voters, the referendum will result in a 2019 property tax increase of about $25/month on the average Hillsborough home valued at $389,300. This is equal to approximately $6/month for every $100,000 of assessed home value. This tax estimate is based on the November 2018 ratables. The finalized tax rate will be based on the Township’s February 2019 ratables which have yet to be released.


The referendum put forth will ask voters to authorize spending $8.09 million to implement a full-day kindergarten program and provide for a long-term financial stability plan for Hillsborough Township Public Schools.


Hillsborough is one of three districts in Somerset County that only offers a half-day kindergarten program. Approximately, 90 percent of districts in New Jersey have a full day kindergarten. Meeting the State Standards for kindergarten are much more challenging in a half day versus a full day program. More information and research on the benefits of a full day kindergarten program can be found on the district’s Investing in Our Future section of the website.


If approved by voters, the full-day kindergarten would be implemented for the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The program would be held at all six elementary schools in the district. Implementation expenses include staff, supplies, training, technology, transportation costs, and the lease of modular classrooms to be used for offices and/or specialty classrooms. This would allow for additional kindergarten classrooms to be set-up in the school buildings.


Also included in this referendum is a long-term plan for funding financial stability. Hillsborough Schools’ yearly budget is limited by a two percent tax cap. Over the last several years, the district has been forced to use a portion of its fund balance to cover costs outside of the district’s control that continue to exceed this two percent limit. Financial concerns were compounded this summer when the state of New Jersey announced it would reduce state aid to Hillsborough Township Public Schools by $5.34 million dollars over the next six years. A full-day kindergarten program will also support financial stability as the state aid formula calculates funding full day kindergarten programs at twice the amount as a half day kindergarten program.  


If not passed, Hillsborough Schools would need to consider reducing teachers and staff and increasing class sizes. The district would also be forced to contemplate increasing fees for students to participate in athletics and co-curricular activities, raising fees for technology, and eliminating programs that the Board could no longer afford. Reductions would continue in future years as state aid is reduced $5.34 million dollars over the next six years.


Additional details and referendum information is available on the district website at www.htps.us. Please remember to vote on Tuesday, March 12, 2018.

 


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