Byram voters approve K-8 budget increase

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    BYRAM-By less than 100 votes, residents in Byram approved a $310,776 or 2.77 percent increase in the township's K-8 school budget for 2005-2006 in this week's elections. The 11.6 million budget represents a $1.63 increase per $100 of the assessed property value for Byram homeowners. The school tax on a home assessed at the township average of $145,000 will be $2,363, "It appears that the voters were duly informed of our prevailing circumstances," said Joseph Pezak, superintendent of Byram schools. "We have the lowest cost per student in the entire three-county region and we had to contend with the fiscal constraints of S-1701." The new S-1701 law requires school districts to reduce their maximum school budget surplus to 3 percent in 2004-2005 and to 2 percent in 2005-2006, and requires the excess surplus to be used for property tax relief. Pezak said Byram's enrollment in grades K-18 grew by 48 students since the beginning of the school year and keeping class sizes down remains a top priority. He said the district hired two additional math teachers for the middle school and another instructor for the elementary school. "Our class size issue persists while our enrollment continues to grow," said Pezak." All seven educators in the district scheduled to retire at the end of the school year will be replaced, Pezak said. Pezak attributed the slight budget increase due to the township being two years removed from the opening of a new elementary school and the consequences that followed from having to hire additional staff. Byram voters also elected incumbents Virginia Bonker and Walter Stanek, and Russell Rassy to fill three, three-year seats on the school board.