State aid reductions will hit the Lenape Regional High School District

Reductions are expected to total more than $7 million over the next seven years.

At Wednesday night’s Lenape Regional High School District Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Carol Birnbohm said that on Friday, July 13, the district was notified its state aid for the upcoming school year has been reduced by $961,456.

At the June 27 meeting, it was announced there was recently passed legislation regarding school funding called the Fair Funding Formula.

It was stated certain school districts were being labeled as overfunded, including the LRHSD and six of the eight sending districts. It was also stated that 22 of 541 school districts previously received more than half of the $8 billion given in state aid, while the other 519 districts had to share the remaining funds.

In an attempt to alleviate the loss of funds in the future, the board passed resolutions to adopt a state aid reduction plan and to apply for emergency aid for the upcoming school year. Birnbohm said the district will request a waiver for relief from the commissioner of education to help with the state aid reductions.

No educational programs or current staff members will be affected by these reductions for the 2018–19 school year, although it was previously noted there are concerns for how high taxes could be raised and how it could affect school programs in the future.

Moving forward, if the bill is signed by Gov. Murphy, there will be a series of systematic reductions each year over the next seven years totaling more than $7 million. Currently, the district receives $28,299,836 in state aid; however, if the bill is approved, the district will receive approximately $20 million in state aid.

“We will work collaboratively as an administration and creatively, and we’re going to continue to keep our focus on our high quality education for our students,” Birnbohm said.

In other news:

  • Birnbohm was honored by Burlington County freeholders for being named Burlington County Superintendent of the Year.
  • Donations totaling $17,651.73 were made to Cherokee High School for the food pantry, principal’s building improvements, marching band and racing association.

The next LRHSD board meeting will be held on Aug. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lenape District Administration Building.