Big Tax Increase Approved In Lacey School Budget

LACEY, NJ — A property tax levy increase of 9.9 percent was approved as part of the 2024-25 Lacey Township School District budget, a last-ditch effort from district officials facing a $6.9 million budget deficit that would have cut dozens of positions and ballooned class sizes into the 40s.

The $71 million budget was the same as it was earlier in the month when the tentative version was introduced. You can see the impact the tax increase will have on homeowners in the graphic below (article continues after).

Over the course of the two-and-a-half hour meeting, many took to the podium to voice their feelings on the budget, particularly the raising of taxes. While it was stressed that it was a “one-time” measure, some worried it could set a precedent that would be unaffordable for many Lacey residents.

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“It’s our duty as the Lacey Township Board of Education members to advocate for the students while being mindful to the taxpayers,” said Kim Klaus. She noted that having more school funding meant for higher rankings and urged the board to vote “yes.”

Not everyone was swayed, though. Cheryl and Salvatore Armato, a married couple that sits on the board, both voted “no” and explained their reasonings.

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“When people tell you it’s only for one year, never believe that,” Cheryl Armato said. “Next year, we’re going to be sitting here again, telling you we don’t have the money, maybe raising our taxes again or laying off teachers.”

“I know some people say, ‘it’s only a coffee, it’s only this.’ No, it’s someone’s electric bill. It’s someone’s gas bill. It’s someone’s food for the night,” she said.

“My job as an elected official is to make the right financial decisions for everyone in this community, whether they teach here or not, whether they grew up here or not, and whether they lived here for their whole life or not. It’s for everyone,” Salvatore Armato said.

Both said that their “no” vote didn’t mean that they didn’t care about the students.

Some parents and teachers said that they were okay with taxes being raised in order to help the students.

“Our students deserve not only a good education, but in that good education, I believe that includes activities, sports, things that keep our students involved and active,” said board member Linda Walker. “So they stay out of trouble, so they’re in school making friends, having good mental health.”

The budget passed with only two “no” votes. It must be submitted to the state by July 22.

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