Pending Legislation Would Release Schools from 2 Percent Cap for School Security
In the wake of the Newtown massacre, schools coping with upgrading security without going over the 2 percent cap may get relief from pending legislation.
In the wake of Newtown, schools everywhere are performing security audits and collaborating with local law enforcement to implement new security intitiatives.
At last week's Town Hall meeting, Fort Lee Police Chief Keith Bendul and the Board of Education talked about amped up security within the Fort Lee Schools and confirmed that they are in the process of reviewing security plans within each school with the intent of putting new measures into place.
In addressing the concerns of parents who want a more visible police presence at the schools, Bendul said, "We are increasing our footprint within the district" by having a more visible police presence in and around the schools.
However, the question being asked by many Superintendents is how to implement new security measures and still stay within the 2 percent cap.
There is a bill pending in the Assembly, A3814, that would allow schools to go over the 2 percent cap for securiity expenditures without having to go to the voters for permission. The bill, introduced on Feb. 11, is sponsored by Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D) representing Mercer and Middlesex Counties.
The 2 percent property tax cap was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie in the summer of 2010. The law set a 2 percent cap on annual property tax hikes, effectively lowering the ceiling on county and municipal government and school district spending.
With certain exceptions, municipalities and school districts may increase their tax levies more than 2 percent, but only by approval from the voters.
This pending bill provides that any annual increase in expenditures on school security costs in excess of two percent incurred by a school district will be excluded from the limit.
The bill has been referred to the Assembly Education Committee.
Patch will be following the progression of this bill.