While Brigantine’s proposed school budget fell by nearly 2 percent this year, a citywide revaluation means the tax rate could increase by an estimated 16 percent.
School officials say the actual impact on the average resident’s tax bill will be minimal, but that will ultimately depend on their revised assessments.
Mark Ritter, the Board of Education’s acting business administrator, said the total budget will be $20.4 million compared with $20.8 million last year. The levy, the amount to be raised by taxes, increased slightly to $15.9 million from $15.7 million.
Ritter said the tax rate for the proposed budget, which will be voted on by the Board of School Estimates next week, was unavailable.
A Press of Atlantic City analysis of figures provided by the board and the city placed the estimated tax rate at about 48.1 cents per $100 of assessed value compared with 41.4 cents in the 2013-14 budget.
Last year, properties valued at the average assessment of $475,000 would have seen $1,966 in local school taxes. Assuming the same property’s value fell proportional to the citywide decline — to $366,000 — the owner would owe $1,760 if the current budget stands.
As with the city’s proposed budget, the impact on property owners will depend on their newest assessment.
Ritter said the state Department of Education has put the per-pupil cost at $19,373, a 6 percent increase over last year. Declining enrollment may have contributed to that — 2014’s anticipated enrollment is 732 compared with 735 in 2013 and 758 in 2012 — but Ritter said the figure is problematic.
It’s the result of the district inputting its data into a computer program, he said, but the actual formula the state uses is complicated and unclear. The increasing per-pupil cost doesn’t jibe with the overall budget decrease, he said.
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