Medford Board of Education passes budget, school taxes go up

The Medford Board of Education passed the budget for the 2016–17 school year after last week’s public hearing.

The tentative budget introduced in May was sent to the Office of the Executive County Superintendent of Schools where it was then reviewed and approved to be presented to the public.

After giving taxpayers the opportunity to voice their opinions about the budget during the April board meeting, the board members approved the final draft and implemented it for the upcoming year.

Superintendent Joe Del Rossi opened the board meeting to the public but no one chose to comment.

Medford residents will now be looking at a 1.46-cent increase on the tax levy, resulting in a K-8 school tax increase of $47.89 on a home assessed at the township average of $327,600, which amounts to $4 more per month.

Every penny the district raises the tax rate results in $298,510 of revenue for the budget.

The increase in the budget will cover all contractual salaries, the 5 percent increase in medical benefits, new elementary school science programming and materials, elementary and middle school literacy materials, summer curriculum writing projects and building level technology upgrades.

“Technology plays such an important role in the support of curriculum,” Del Rossi said. “Our goal is to embed technology into instruction.”

To help ensure this goal be accomplished without any bumps in the road, the district recently appointed Principal of the Kirby’s Mill Elementary School, Mark Damon, to the position of educational technology coordinator for the district.

He will now be responsible for leading the district’s initiative for embedding technology into the daily instruction for students.

As the board continues to bring teaching positions back after the budget cuts in 2009, it has also budgeted to add three new full-time special education teaching positions and one new part-time special education teaching position for 2016–17.

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Del Rossi addressed the increased enrollment in special education as a rising challenge that most schools in Burlington County are working to address.