CAPE MAY — Sequestration will increase school taxes by 1.3 percent this year — about $4 for the typical taxpayer — as the district is seeing a reduction in federal impact aid for U.S. Coast Guard students.
More than half the local students are supplied by Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, and the school gets about $600,000 in aid each year for educating them.
But this year, Business Administration John Thomascq said, impact aid will be declining due to sequestration, which reduced TRACEN’s budget from $8 million to $5.9 million. Sequestration is a process of automatic federal budget cuts that was triggered when Congress and President Barack Obama could not come up with a budget deal earlier this year.
“We haven’t raised the tax levy since 2006,” said Thomas. “We used federal impact aid to offset a local tax increase. This year with sequestration we will lose $60,000 to $75,000.”
The $3.55 million budget is up from $3.49 million last year. The amount to be raised by taxes to support the budget is climbing from $1.48 million to $1.51 million. Thomas said the $29,678 increase is a two percent rise.
Thomas said the tax rate will go from 5.31 cents for each $100 of assessed value to 5.38 cents.
The rate means the bill for each $100,000 of assessed value will rise from $53.10 to $53.80, a 70-cent increase. The average assessment is $628,863 and the bill for that property would be $338. It would have been about $334 last year.
The rate is just for the elementary school district. The property tax bill also includes levies from city government, Cape May County, and the Lower Cape May Regional School District. City and county taxes are up this year but taxes are declining at the regional district.
Thomas said the district is saving more than $4,000 this year by moving the Board of Education election to November. The budget also includes funds to increase security at the single school the district operates.
“Security is the main concern for this year in light of the tragedy in Connecticut,” Thomas said.
The school is also installing a small wind turbine, but this is being paid for with a grant. Thomas said it could result is saving about $1,000 on the electric bill but it will mainly be used as a teaching tool.
State aid rose from $411,000 to almost $468,000 and could increase in the future as the district joined the state’s School Choice Program, which allows the preK-6 school to take children from other towns. Each student draws more state aid.
“We have five students for September but hope to get more,” said Superintendent Victoria Zelenakcq.
Contact Richard Degener: