A message from the Moorestown Board of Education:
March and April are two of the most important months of the year for our Board of Education (BOE) and school district administration. The administration has proposed our budget for the 2016–2017 school year and the board is dedicated to providing the best education for every student, while keeping fiscal responsibility in mind.
In May 2015, the Board approved the 2015–16 school year budget, which made significant investments in our district, including:
Dell laptops for every student in grades seven, eight and nine and additional staff to support the rollout;
Additional staff and resources to support our special education population;
Robotics advisors at the Middle School;
Continuation of all of our academic programs; our thirty-two sports programs at the high school and middle school; our five theater productions; and over forty clubs.
As we develop our 2016–2017 budget and future forecasts, we project significant deficits due to insufficient and inequitable state and federal funding, increased state mandates, and rising health care and staffing costs. Our recent BOE meetings and website articles have shared that our 2016–2017 projected budget shortfall is $1.98 million with a 0 percent tax increase. If we choose to raise taxes to our state mandated 2 percent tax levy, and utilize one time additional taxing authority options, we may close the 2016–2017 budget gap by increasing taxes nearly 3 percent. The full budget presentation can be found on our district website at www.mtps.com.
In future years, the board will have fewer options to close our budget deficit. We project deficits of $4.7 million for 2017–2018, $7.33 million for 2018–2019 and $9.71 million for 2019–2020 before utilizing the 2 percent tax levy cap. Given these substantial deficits, we likely will require significant drastic budget cuts unless we radically change the structure and processes of our district.
Our district faces multiple structural challenges that will require innovative thinking, real change and timely execution. We also must identify and act on new ways to generate revenue to help address these deficits. We must move away from incremental steps and half-solutions to our structural problems and confront the stark reality that our district faces an ongoing, growing funding crisis.
The Board will consider these issues and many more on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the William Allen Middle School media center when the BOE will vote on the final 2016–2017 budget. Do not hesitate to contact us at MTPSBOE@mtps.com in the meantime if you have any questions or concerns.