Codey Proposes Bill To Increase School District Accountability And Fiscal Responsibility

TRENTON – Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex, today announced that he has proposed a bill that will increase accountability at the local level by requiring school election ballots, and sample ballots, to include the percentage increase that school budgets would have on the school tax levy in comparison to the previous year.

“More often than not, public attention focuses on budget increases at the municipal, county or state level, with little attention focused on school board spending. This year’s elections showed us that voters are aware of their vested interest in local school board budgets, despite the overall low turnout statewide,” said Sen. Codey. “This bill will allow voters to see the direct impact that school board budgets have on their property taxes, and hopefully engage them in the voting process, and encourage more fiscal responsibility from our districts.”

Sen. Codey proposed the bill as part of the Senate’s ongoing commitment to addressing the state’s property tax dilemma. The bill is designed to keep voters informed about the choices they are making, increase school district accountability and encourage more frugal fiscal practices.

School districts, on average, account for more than 50 percent of the local property tax levy. The bill will require school districts to post their tax levy increase, regardless of whether their budget exceeds the state-mandated four percent cap in spending each year. The bill is expected to be introduced at the next Senate quorum on June 8.