CAPE MAY POINT — The school budget is skyrocketing almost 67 percent this year, but the tax rate will remain among the lowest in the state.
Figures released by the school district show the budget jumping from $65,240 to $108,907. The district has so few students that there is no school in town. Costs mainly represent tuition and bus transportation to other districts.
“Tuition rules the budget. Its’ a non-operating district,” said Business Administrator Rose Millar.
The increase is due partly to one family with children moving into town. Millar said a second factor was a tuition increase at the Cape May Elementary School that receives grammar school pupils from the borough.
The good news for taxpayers is the tax rate is projected at 0.752 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation. That tax translates to just $7.52 for each $100,000 of assessed valuation. That is up from 0.727 cents per $100 or $7.27 for a $100,000 home.
Most homes in the borough are assessed much higher than $100,000. The average assessment here of $793,000 would produce school tax levy of $59.63. It’s one of the lowest school taxes in the state.
In spite of the large budget increase, the actual dollars collected in taxes are only up slightly this year from $37,740 to $39,058. The budget also receives funds from state aid, surplus and tuition adjustments.
Tuition costs are based on projections and in a district so small just a few students coming or leaving can lead to big adjustments based on the number of students who actually attended the schools. Extra funds budgeted to the receiving schools are returned if the students do not attend, but the tuition adjustments run three years behind.
The borough built its own school in the 1870s with grades one through four using the first floor and grades five through eight on the second floor. The school closed in 1931 and is now a private residence on Cambridge Avenue.
The public hearing on the budget is set for April 28 at 6 p.m. at Borough Hall on Lighthouse Avenue.
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