The West Windsor-Plainsboro Board of Education approved a tentative $174.72 million budget for the 2017-18 school year at its meeting on March 20.

The budget, which is a 1.76 percent increase over last year’s $171.69 million spending plan has been sent to the Mercer County Superintendent of Schools for state review. A public hearing on the budget will be held at the Board’s meeting on for Tuesday, April 25.

Gerri Hutner, district director of communications, said the tax impact of the budget on both communities has not yet been calculated. Those numbers will be available by the time of the public hearing.

Areas driving increases in this year’s spending plan include capital projects, special services, health care costs, staff increases, technology transportation and contractual salary increases.

On the expenditures side, increases include: $931,111 (1.79 percent) for regular instruction to $52.86 million; $111,239 (4.42 percent) for co-curricular and athletics to $2.62 million; $1.05 million (3.81 percent) for special education to $28.6 million; and $189,783 (3.2 percent) for student support services to $6.11 million.

The breakdown of the budget’s $3.02 million increase is $166,242 (1.44 percent) for administration, $196,243 (1.37 percent) for operations and maintenance, $132,579 (1.21 percent) for transportation, $70,000 (.24 percent) for benefits, $487,700 (15.67 percent) for capital outlay, and a $371,432 (4.41 percent) decrease in debt service payments.

On the revenue side, the budget is supported by $158.72 million in taxes, and increase of $3.24 million (2.09 percent) from the 2016-2017 budget. It makes use of $4.99 million from the fund balance, which is a $256,299 decrease from last year. State aid stays flat at $7.59 million.

During the budget presentation to the board, assistant superintendent for finance Larry Shanok provided a comparison to other comparable area districts in several categories.

WW-P comes in lowest in per pupil spending at $12,982 compared to Princeton at $18,287, Hopewell Valley at $17,108 and Montgomery at $14,102.

WW-P has the highest student to teacher ratio at 13.2 students per pupil, as opposed 10.9 in Hopewell Valley, 11.3 for Princeton and 12.1 for Montgomery.

WW-P also has highest student to administrator ratio at 224 students per administrator. This compares to 183 for Hopewell Valley, 156 for Montgomery and 136 for Princeton.

Median teacher pay in the district is $84,500, which is the highest of the four. The median salary for teachers is $77,167 in Montgomery, $75,090 in Princeton and $69,470 in Montgomery.

Faculty cost per pupil is the lowest in WW-P at $1,218. This compares to $1,900 in Hopewell Valley, $1,889 in Princeton and $1,553 in Montgomery.