Yes. Your Chatham school taxes will go up 4.5% next year.
State law allows our School Board to PERMANENTLY raise our school taxes by 2% each year.
This year, they’re also going to PERMANENTLY raise taxes an extra 2.5% ($1.75 million) unless residents vote that down at the polls in November.
Not only will that mean a 4.5% increase next year, it will also mean that our school taxes will increase faster in the future, and there will be no way to reverse the effect. Even the automatic 2% annual school tax increase will be based on a bigger number every year going forward.
Why would the School Board do that?
They say they need an extra $1.75 million next year. That includes $900,000 (a 1.3% increase) to provide health benefits for full-time teachers’ aides, and another $850,000 (a 1.23% increase) to put security vestibules in all the schools.
Before we vote on such a significant tax increase, we need and deserve some facts and answers.
For instance, what other options did the School Board consider? Why couldn’t they fit those expenses into the regular $86.3 million school budget?
Most important, why not simply raise just enough to pay for the security doors? Why a PERMANENT tax increase?
A permanent increase may make sense for recurring expenses, like health benefits, but not for the one-time cost of security doors. They say there will be other security expenses. But what are they?
At the very least, the School Board should spell out exactly what it intends to do with the extra $850,000 in each of the next ten years after the security doors are in place.
It’s your money. They’re your schools. Your children.
Get the facts.
Go to the School Board meeting on Monday September 18, 2023 at 7:30 pm in the High School auditorium.
Email members of the School Board: https://www.chatham-nj.org/staff?filter_ids=302292
Demand that the School Board hold a Town Hall to explain the issue, entertain questions, and hear from residents.
Read up on the school budget: https://chathamchoice.org/2023/04/what-does-it-take-to-educate-4000-children-teens/
Check the School Board website for recent history of the issue: https://www.chatham-nj.org/
Before October 17, make sure you’re registered to vote. https://nj.gov/state/elections/voter-registration.shtml
Vote early or go to the polls on November 7.