The Linden Board of Education unanimously approved a budget on Thursday, April 25, that calls for no tax increase on city residents. The budget also includes no new or existing debt.
The total operating budget of $134,673,315 covers all educational, personnel and other spending for the 2019-20 school year.
The budget is supported by $30,940,458 in aid from the state, an increase of $3,668,890 over the 2018-19 school year.
“I don’t know if it’s the first time in history, but this is my 20th budget, and it’s the first time we’ve had a zero tax levy increase,” said Business Administrator Kathleen Gaylord, who prepared the budget for the board’s approval. “That’s because we received extra state aid.”
Board President Gregory R. Martucci praised Gaylord during the board meeting where the budget was approved.
“To be a business administrator, you have to be good at what you do,” he said. “There is so much money coming in and going out. I thank you. We gave you a goal, and you did it. The board appreciates it, and the taxpayer appreciates it.”
The budget allows the district to maintain all student programs and services and staff professional development. The district will also hire 10 new teachers to cover increasing enrollment and expand technology electives.
“I’ve said before that we couldn’t ask for a better business administrator than Mrs. Gaylord,” said Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi. “I also want to thank the state for taking a first step in meeting its funding obligation to Linden Public Schools. This budget allows us to maintain the high standards that our students and staff deserve, while minimizing the financial impact on our community.”
The district will also embark on a number of facilities upgrades at all schools, which are funded through a capital reserve fund and do not impact the local tax levy.
Linden Public Schools district includes a high school, two middle schools and eight elementary schools that serve 6,242 students. The district employs 1,125 faculty and staff members, which includes 44 administrators. Administrative costs are below state average and are the lowest in Union County.