Vernon school district unveils $68M budget

Spending plan for 2014-15 includes $720,000 decrease from last year; lower tax levy

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By the numbers

Total for 2014-15: $68 million
Change from 2013-14: $-720,000
Tax Rate: $1.56 per $100,000 of assessed value
Projected fund balance: $1.38 million

The Vernon Township Board of Education recently unveiled its $68 million 2014-15 budget to the county, which features a a $720,000 decrease from the 2013-14 budget.

It also is down more than $1.1 million from two years ago. It also includes a change in the tax levy, asking for less from township taxpayers.

The tax rate for the school portion of the taxes is $1.56 per $100,000 of assessed value.

The district got a slightly larger aid package from the state for next year, according to School Business Administrator Stephen Kepnes. The total aid was $25,034,455, which is about $66,000 more than the district got for the 2013-14 school year.

This allowed the district to keep its savings healthy as well. Kepnes projected the capital reserve, which is used to fund major projects in the district, to have $505,514 in June 2015. The district will save a 2 percent fund balance of $1.38 million.

The Board of Education put $207,269 of the fund balance back into the 2014-15 budget, but the results are worth it. Among the improvements in the budget are:

An additional Kindergarten section at Walnut Ridge to help address the 40% of incoming children who are not meeting the DIAL-4 screening (Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning)

An additional third grade section at Cedar Mountain to reduce class size;

Subsidizing of the SAT preparation class for VTHS students;

Complete library renovation at Walnut Ridge;

Replacement of 31 classroom sinks, countertops, vanities and faucets at Rolling Hills;

Repaving of Rolling Hills and Lounsberry Hollow parking lots;

Playground installation at Cedar Mountain;

Window and door replacement projects at Glen Meadow;

Renovations to create a testing center at the high school.

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