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Monty Full Day Kindergarten to Be Slightly More Costly to Taxpayers than Originally Reported

By Barbara A. Preston | October 18, 2022

(Updated on October 20 to include the Board of Ed meeting, and a correction and the taxpayer cost.)

Montgomery and Rocky Hill voters are deciding upon a referendum question — asking taxpayers to pay for full day kindergarten. The school superintendent sent an email to the community on Friday, saying the tax increase to property owners was mistakenly calculated by the school's administrators.

For the average Montgomery Township homeowner, the actual permanent tax increase would be an extra $201 per year, not the $196 originally communicated. For Rocky Hill, the increase would be $133 per year, not $6.

In addition, the average Montgomery homeowner would pay a one-time tax of $83 (not $114); and Rocky Hill homeowners would pay $54 (not $3.60).

Some residents have already cast their ballots by mail. Others will go to the polls on Tuesday, November 8. School administrators gave a presentation on the revised calculations at the Board of Education meeting on October 18. (Watch the video of the meeting.)

Montgomery is one of 20 towns in New Jersey that still has half-day kindergarten. Stylized photo of students at Orchard Hill Elementary School in Montgomery Township. (File photo by Barbara A. Preston)

Superintendent Mary E. McLoughlin apologized for publicly sharing inaccurate information in school correspondence and in an article in The Montgomery News titled "Support Full Day Kindergarten."

"An incorrect formula was applied in determining the tax impact based on the average assessed home in both municipalities," she told The Montgomery News. The mistake was uncovered during a town hall on the full day kindergarten initiative, which took place on Monday, October 10. "In response to the questions from community members at our ... town hall, our business administrator went back to review the tax assessment formulas. She then shared her findings with me late Wednesday afternoon."

The resignation of Business Administrator Alicia Schauer was accepted at the October 18 board meeting. David Palumbo, the assistant board secretary, was appointed to the position of acting board secretary.

The "Full day K" referendum is still on the November ballot

"The overall amount requested by the public question remains unchanged: the recurring amount of $1,620,152 and the one-time amount of $669,763. The error was in the proposed tax impact for the Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill Borough municipalities," McLoughlin wrote in an email to The Montgomery News. See the Montgomery School District's Fiscal Impact statement for more information.

Current school tax

For the average assessed home in Montgomery ($505,821) and Rocky Hill ($488,448), the school tax for 2022 is:

The Montgomery Township 2022 school tax rate is 2.212 per $100 of valuation. So an average Montgomery home valued at $505,821 divided by 100 = 5,058.21 x 2.212 equals $11,188.76 in school taxes in 2022.

If the Full Day K referendum passes, the average Montgomery tax payer would pay an extra $201 (annual increase for full day kindergarten) plus $83 (one time charge for kindergarten) in 2023.

The Rocky Hill 2022 school tax rate is 1.410 per $100 of valuation. So an average Rocky Hill home valued at $488,448 divided by 100 = 4,884.48 x 1.410 equals $6,887.12 in school taxes for 2022.

If the referendum passes, the average Rocky Hill homeowner would pay an extra $133 (annual increase for full day kindergarten) plus $54 (one time charge for kindergarten) in 2023.

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McLoughlin summarized that "the academic and social-emotional benefits of full-time kindergarten remain the same, as does the fact that we are one of the few districts in the state that do not offer full-day kindergarten. We appreciate all the support and involvement of our community members. We regret that inaccurate information was shared on the financial impact of the full-day Kindergarten initiative."

She encourages residents with questions to email with questions.


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