CHATHAM, NJ – The Chatham Board of Education approved its preliminary budget of $80.9 million for the 2021-2022 school year at its regular meeting on Monday night.
The budget represents a 1.88% percent increase over last year’s budget and will be up for adoption at the BOE’s April 26 meeting. Matthew Gilfillan, the board finance chair, said it marked the third year that the budget increase was 2% or below.
For a home assessed at $800,000, the increase will amount to $172.00 for Chatham Borough residents and $207.92 for Chatham Township taxpayers.
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The budget includes $140,000 to create a new position at Chatham High – Dean of Students.
Chatham Superintendent Michael LaSusa explained that it is actually a resurrection of a position he once held in 2004, and is being reinstated to help students in the wake of the pandemic.
“We’re going to aim this position at the social reintegration of students,” LaSusa explains in the video below
The Chatham School District budgets $15,282 per student, which is lower than nine other comparable school districts (see the chart below).
At this time, Chatham will be receiving $317,000 more in state funding than it received last year.
The board also plans to spend $3.3 million on necessary capital projects, such as $2.6 million for partial roof replacements at Chatham High, the Chatham Middle School, Lafayette School, and Washington Avenue School.
In other business, LaSusa proposed ending school year one day earlier than scheduled. The district has two “snow days” left over and the superintendent said that ending the school year a day earlier will allow for the scheduling of graduation for a Thursday, June 17, instead of on a Friday. The other excess snow day will be used to have school off on the Friday before Memorial Day (May 28).
The board approved the hiring of Dr. Emily Sortino as the new assistant superintendent of student support services. She will take over for Dr. Vincent D’Elia, who is retiring.