Proposed budget would include 1.79 percent increase

There could be a tax levy increase of 4.87 cents, resulting in an increase in regional school taxes of $141.75 on a home assessed at the township average of $330,013, according to a statement released by Lenape Regional High School District.

The information was released following an executive session to reach an agreement on the tentative budget after the LRHSD Board of Education meeting on March 5.

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According to the release, the total 2013–2014 budget. It is $150.4 million, which represents a 1.79 percent increase from the current year.

No further information was released on the budget and is slated for further discussion during the March 27 meeting.

In other news, two presentations were given during the meeting.

Chris Heilig discussed the new progress targets to be met by individual schools and the district.

The progress targets are in place of No Child Left Behind, a process recently discontinued.

The 2010 HESPA scores serve as the baseline for progress targets, according to Heilig. Those numbers are plugged into formula to demonstrate proficiency rate.

According to the Department of Education, if the “all students” group is currently demonstrating a proficiency rate of 40 percent, the methodology would take the 60 percent point gap between 100 percent proficiency and the current rate, then divide that group in half to determine the target for the sixth year, a gain of 30 percentage points.

“If the targets are not met, you get a big red no. If that’s the case, there’s an action plan that needs to be implemented school or district wide,” Heilig said.

According to Heilig, LRHSD is proficient district wide.

The second presentation highlighted statistics for the violence, vandalism and harassment, intimidation and bullying report from July 1 to Dec. 31.

The district is required to report two times a year.

According to security and emergency management coordinator James Kehoe, HIB, previously categorized under violence, is in its own category.

There were a total of 31 incidents in the first six months of the school year, compared to 34 in the same time frame last year.

There were 13 instances of violence broken down into four cases of assault, one verbal threat and eight fights.

According to Kehoe, an assault is when a student attacks another, and a fight is between two students.

Vandalism incidents went down by one. There have been two thefts, one damaged vehicle and a bomb threat that eventually led to the arrest of the suspect.

There were 11 cases of substance issues reported. There were six cases of abuse, four instances of possession and one reported indecent of intent to distribute.

Regarding HIB, there were three reported cases, one involving sexual orientation and the two cases were reported based on other distinguishing characteristics, such as weight or size.

Discipline of the students ranged from counseling, schedule changes and parent conferences.

The district has continued the initiative to eliminate HIB.

Multiple programs including No Place for Hate, Violence Awareness Week, Week of Respect and Upstanders have been put in place in an effort to combat these issues.

In other news, according to superintendent of schools Carol Birnbohm, all four district schools have kicked off the Goodwill Challenge.

Last year, 25,000 pounds of donations were made.

Donations can be made at all four schools through April 12.

The next board of education meeting will be held March 27 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the 2013–2014 budget.

Meetings are held at the district building located at 93 Willow Grove Road in Shamong.

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