“User-friendly” Plain Language Budget Summaries and Salaries and Benefits of Select School District Employees
In order to provide increased public accountability and transparency, NJSA 18A:22-8 requires officials in each school district to place a "user-friendly" summary of their proposed budget on the district's website (if one exists). NJAC 6A:23A-8.1(c) requires the "user-friendly" budget summary to be posted on the district’s website within 48 hours after the public hearing on the budget. After the election (and following municipal review if the budget is defeated), a final user-friendly summary of the final budget must be posted on both the district's website (pursuant to NJSA 18A:22-8a) and the Department of Education's website.
DOE worked with the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials to create the format for the budget summary. It includes: all appropriation line items aggregated by item type; the school tax rate; the equalized school tax rate; revenues by major category; the amount of available surplus; a description of unusual revenues or appropriations with a description of the circumstances of the revenues and appropriations; and a list of shared services agreements in which the district is participating.
NJSA 18A:7F-5.3 requires that the "user friendly" budgets contain detailed information on the salaries and benefits of each district superintendent, assistant superintendent, school business administrator and school district employee whose annual base salaries exceeds $75,000, and who is not a member of a collective bargaining unit. These postings must stay on-line for a year, until they are replaced by the following year's budget summary. The information provided as part of the user-friendly budget summaries is for contracts in effect as of January 1, 2016. The amount columns are reported on an annualized basis and represent the maximum amount that the employee could be paid in the given year.
It is important to note that some of the benefits listed on this website - such as stipends, the buyback of accrued sick time and separation payments - have either been capped or are no longer permitted to be included in new administrator contracts, which must be reviewed and approved by the Executive County Superintendent in each county.
Finally, all users of this information should note that the salary data contained in the user-friendly budget summaries are self- reported by the districts. DOE has not approved this information, nor is the department responsible for its accuracy.
NOTE: School districts that incurred substantial damage from Superstorm Sandy were eligible to participate in FEMA’s Community Disaster Loan (CDL) or the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal years. The CDL/CDBG funds were intended to reduce the tax levy while preserving the district’s original budget. Those districts who received a CDBG reflect a reduction in the tax levy based on the approved amount from the program for the eligible year, with a corresponding increase in the CDBG revenue. Those districts who received a CDL (List of CDL Districts) reflect a reduction in the tax levy based on the amount of approved funds elected to be drawn down in the eligible year, with a corresponding increase in Other Financing Sources. Revenue from CDL/CDBG is no longer available for 2016-17. Dependent upon FEMA review and approval, districts may be eligible to enter into repayment arrangements for the CDL beginning in 2018-19.
The final accountability regulations are posted on the Department's website at: http://www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/title6a/chap23a.pdf.
Archive of Previous Year User-Friendly Budget Summaries