Cinnaminson Board of Education unanimously passes 2017–2018 budget

School taxes will increase $114.03 per year for residents with the new budget.

The Cinnaminson Township Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the 2017–2018 budget following a public hearing on April 25.

The $50.8 million budget, $34.99 million of which will be raised through taxation, includes a tax levy increase of 2 percent — a $747,689 increase. The total budget has increased 2.68 percent from 2016–2017.

School taxes will increase $114.03 per year, or $9.50 per month, for the average Cinnaminson home valued at $232,193. As the assessed property value has decreased in Cinnaminson from 2016, school taxes will automatically increase by $5. The tax rate per $100 of assessed home value will rise 0.049 cents.

“That really was a disaster for budget preparation,” Superintendent Salvatore Illuzzi said in regard to the declining property value. “With any declining revenue, you have to make up that money just to get back to current.”

Class size at all district levels remain steady, and the budget maintains all programs and services, which business administrator Thomas Egan says was possible due to a “significant local effort and continued state support.”

Budget additions include the purchase of five school buses and new staff hires.

“Board members working with administration approved a budget that met contractual obligations [and] staffing needs to maintain reasonable class size throughout the district, and debt services due to the referendum of 2014,” board president Jean Cohen said.

However, state support increased by only $228, and the board is anticipating a 25 percent cut in federal assistance to mandated special education programs. That, along with the $1.8 million decline in township property value, made it necessary for school taxes to increase.

“This project was particularly difficult to project,” Illuzzi said, adding the district didn’t know how much state and federal aid it would be receiving.

The board adopted the proposed 2017–2018 budget in March and submitted it to the executive county superintendent of schools, who approved the budget with no changes.