The May 6 meeting of the Voorhees Township Board of Education saw the public hearing and unanimous adoption of the 2015–2016 school year budget.
With the total budget reaching $54.05 million and the local tax levy totaling $43.8 million, a Voorhees resident with a home at the average assessed value of $255,500, will see a K-8 school tax bill increase of $40.80 per year, or $3.40 per month.
State aid in this year’s budget remained flat at $5.53 million, with federal aid rising slightly from $17,077 in last year’s budget to $21,227.
The budget also maintains all existing programs while continuing to support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for curriculum, as well as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or PARCC examination process.
At the meeting, just some of the district goals for the budget were outlined as achieving high academic standards, actively engaging family and community members, ensuring business practices are efficient, recruiting and retaining high performing staff members, ensuring student safety and providing technology resources and programs that reflect 21st century skills.
Voorhees Township School District Business Administrator Frank T. DeBerardinis said the district appreciated “so many good people doing so many good things,” for the schools in town.
“There’s no doubt about it, we’re a great district because we have a great teaching staff here and a great support staff, and we do thank everyone,” DeBerardinis said.
In other news:
• During the personnel appointment portion of the meeting, the board voted 6–3 in favor of approving the re-employment and employment contract of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Dr. Dianne Young.
Board members Richard Horner, Denise Kirkland, Marissa Levy, John Schmus, Richard Wojdon and board vice president Barbara Dunleavy voted yes, with board members Bruce Karpf, Amy Lynch and board president Richard Nelson voting no.
• Young spoke about the school district recently being accepted into the InnovateNJ cohort by the state Department of Education after members of the district’s innovation committee applied for the status through highlighting the district’s vision for instruction in the 21st century.
The InnovateNJ website describes the initiative as a way to support innovation in schools through participating members meeting, collaborating and cultivating projects.
“Their goal for us is to come together, as a cohort, collaborate on special projects…we have the opportunity to collaborate with other school districts that have been through one-to-one technology programs for 10 years, versus us where we’re just starting it out, so we can hear about their programs, learn from them,” Young said.
Young said she hopes the district can pursue a “badging” program in which teachers are able to complete professional development online and earn a digital badge to show what has been accomplished.
• The board noted that Wojdon had received an award from the New Jersey School Board Association for 30 years of service on the Voorhees Township BOE.
Wojdon said while his first year on the board was actually contentious due to the tough discussions taking place regarding building schools and the costs and difficulties associated with such a process, the district eventually built what he believed to be the foundation for the community.
“I’ve always said, the educational system is the foundation of the community — that’s why you’re going to bring the right people here, and the right people have showed up here in Voorhees Township,” Wojdon said.
• The next meeting of the Voorhees Township BOE is scheduled for June 15 at the district administration building.