Board of Education reviewed finances at recent meeting

From grants to state aid, they covered it all.

At this week’s Tabernacle Township Board of Education meeting, the Education Foundation of Tabernacle Township presented a $3,500 grant to Tabernacle Elementary School.

This grant will contribute to the production of the breathe-in, breathe-out room, and the grant was provided by Investors Foundation, which is an organization created by Investors Bank to support local communities.

The funds provided will go toward a connected indoor and outdoor space at the elementary school that will promote mindfulness, wellness and natural sensory exploration. The space is important for students and staff alike, as it will serve as a place to rest and recharge during the school day, officials said.

EFTT representatives urged teachers to reach out and communicate their needs and interests to allow the foundation an opportunity to assist in any way possible.

TES principal Gerald Paterson expressed his gratitude toward the foundation for its efforts to receive this grant.

“I just want to say thank you. I can’t thank you enough for being able to contribute to the breathe-in, breathe-out room. We have so many wonderful ideas,” Paterson said. “We can’t wait to put the grant money into effect.”

Paterson said the staff at TES has had an opportunity to collaborate with board member Gail Corey, parents and students to brainstorm ideas for their upcoming project — grasping inspiration from the zen den that is already in place at Olson Middle School.

Following the grant announcement, Superintendent Glenn Robbins discussed the upcoming state aid reductions.

Robbins said the Tabernacle School District stands to lose a total of $2.5 million in state aid funds in the upcoming years.

Robbins expressed his fear the budget cuts could eventually lead to increased class sizes, reduced support services, increased activity fees, the inability to sustain current technology and the inability to acquire emergency instructional technology.

Robbins said the district applied for grants in hopes of relieving some of the financial restraints, but they were deemed unqualified.

“When you start taking money away from the kids, I don’t care where you live, that’s not OK in my book,” Robbins said.

Robbins urges the community to reach out to the legislators with their concerns regarding state aid funding.

Due to the inevitable regionalization, the board discussed the possibility of reaching out to the Lenape Regional sending districts to create a common voice between them and to get a head start on planning for the future funding reductions.

In other news:

● The board discussed possible improvements that could be made to the communication outlets currently in place at the schools. Board member Brian Lepsis said he feels information is relayed inconsistently and the calendars are not kept updated with student council events. Robbins said they will work to keep the calendars updated as a central reference point.

The next regular board meeting will be held on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at Kenneth R. Olson Middle School.