Moorestown Public Schools updates 2016–2017 budget projections, deficit still predicted

At the Moorestown Township Public Schools Board of Education meeting, business administrator Lynn Shugars gave an update on the early budget projections for the 2016–2017 school year. The projections have a deficit for MTPS ranging from $2.8 million to $919,769, depending on tax levy and banked cap used.

“We’re still very much in the development stages of the budget… These are early numbers. The numbers are changing several times every day,” Shugars said.

For 2016–2017, it is predicted that expenditures will total around $68.4 million, which is a 4.14 percent increase over the 2015–2016 school year. Revenue predicted is $65.6 million, which is only a 0.12 percent increase.

With no tax increase, that would mean a $2.8 million deficit at most and a $919,769 deficit at the least, with the use of a 2 percent tax levy and banked cap from the 2013–2014 school year.

The 2013–2014 school year has a banked cap totaling $742,894. After that, there is no banked cap available for MTPS’s use.

The potential tax impact for the average assessed home at $446,500 would result in an increase of $121.46 with a 2 percent tax levy increase and $204.95 with banked cap added.

Shugars predicts that state aid for the schools will remain flat. The numbers for state aid were to be released to the schools last week, according to Shugars.

It is anticipated the board will once again receive an update on the 2016–2017 budget the first week of March after the release of state aid. The initial submission for the budget is March 22. A public hearing will be held between April 25 and May 9.

In the future, Shugars said the district could be looking at major deficits in the upcoming years if the district doesn’t think about making changes and looking into new revenue generation ideas.

A presentation on revenue generation ideas was made to the board, asking for its opinions on which items to look into more and move forward with. Revenue generation ideas included extended day programs, accepting tuition students, expansion of the Academy of Excellence/Summer Enrichment programs, the creation of fun runs or mud runs for schools, a Hall of Fame and advertisements. Projections of those revenues presented by Interim Superintendent and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Carole Butler would total $765,270.

The board did not make a decision on what it thought was best, as it wanted more information on all of the items.

“I think we need more information on all of these… There is no reason not to look at all of these as possible opportunities for the district. We’re looking at the possibility of a shortfall, we need to do anything we can do to prevent that from happening,” board member David Weinstein said.

The presentations made that night can be found at the MTPS website at www.mtps.com.

In other news:

• Moorestown High School students helped to raise $1,500 in honor of 2006 graduate Katelyn Zieniuk who passed away from cystic fibrosis last year. The school donated $500 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Delaware Valley Chapter and started a $1,000 scholarship in honor of Katie called The Katie Zieniuk Memorial Scholarship for Courage, which has already received pledges for the scholarship to continue.

• An update on Strategic Plans was given to the board. Each committee assigned to create action steps for each of the three broad based goals established for MTPS. The committees are very close to being finished with their action plans and intend to have a final presentation for board approval either next month or in April.

• Board Committee Reports will be available online before the BOE meetings at the BOE tab of the MTPS website. This way reports are available to all, even if someone cannot attend a BOE meeting.

• A policy on having student representatives appointed to the BOE was passed on first reading. The idea is this will give students a voice at the meeting as well as give student updates to the board.

• The next BOE meeting will be on March 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the William Allen Middle School.