ROSELLE, NJ — The Roselle Board of Education unanimously approved its 2021-22 budget of $60.7 million, which calls for a tax decrease, at its regular meeting on Monday, April 26.
The owner of a house assessed at $300,000 will see a decrease of about $53 in the school portion of the tax bill. This is the first time in two years that the tax levy is less than 1 percent, as the district strategically allocated its resources to focus on enhanced student outcomes.
This year’s budget of $60,798,775 is “truly student-centered, with a variety of new initiatives and programs” to improve student achievement throughout every level of the school district, from prekindergarten to 12th grade, said schools Superintendent Nathan L. Fisher.
“This budget features new resources and programs that will help meet our lofty expectations for student outcomes, while ensuring equitable classroom resources throughout the district,” Fisher explained. “We are immensely proud of this budget because it showcases the priorities of this school district, serving as a blueprint of how we will progress over the next five years.”
Despite the decrease in taxes, school officials are able to add 10 vital teaching positions, expand district-wide social and emotional programming, and hire a college and career planning professional to help guide Abraham Clark High School students.
“It was crucial to implement college and career planning at the high school and to have a full-time staff member dedicated to the mission; it’s something our district has been sorely missing,” said board President Courtney Washington. “This program will not only help our young scholars identify potential career paths earlier, but will also serve as an important resource to parents by offering guidance to help the college selection process.”
Participation in the Kean Scholar Academy, a new dual-enrollment program offered in conjunction with Kean University that gives incoming freshmen at Abraham Clark High School the opportunity to earn as many as 24 college credits throughout their high school career, is another crown jewel of this year’s budget.
Other notable items include the transition to open-space classrooms, expanded visual and performing arts resources to better prepare students for events and competitions, and academic coaching through a partnership with the Institute for Student Achievement.
“Creating an equitable environment for all students has always been at the center of our conversations,” Washington said. “The steady and ongoing transformation to open-space classrooms will help our district meet 21st-century needs, providing students with the opportunity to learn, explore and excel in ways that are consistent with the modern work world.”
In addition, the approved budget incorporates a five-year lease for field lighting and security cameras at the Arminio Athletic Field. Fisher said, “This will be the first time in generations that the high school football team is able to play home games at night.”
“Roselle was the first community on the planet that had the electric light bulb,” the superintendent said. “We thought it was high time that our athletic fields should be electrified as well.”
The spending plan also allows for the school district to expand instructional space at St. Joseph the Carpeneter School for the Kindergarten Success Academy, as well as to construct modular units at the elementary schools to support the preschool, funded through a state grant.
All of these initiatives are being accomplished despite rising contractual costs in teacher and staff salaries, transportation, contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System, health benefits, and prescription rates.
“I would like to applaud our Board of Education, administration and business administrator for ensuring that our district remains fiscally responsible while providing the best possible education to our scholars,” said Fisher. “Working together, we have crafted a budget that is truly stamped with the priorities of the borough of Roselle.”
To view the entire budget, visit www.roselleschools.org.