Lenape Regional High School District discusses state aid reductions

LRHSD is facing a loss of $961,300 for the 2019–2020 school year.

At this week’s Lenape Regional High School District Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Carol Birnbohm discussed the state aid reductions that face the region over the next seven years.

Birnbohm said that over the next seven years, the LRHSD and six of the K-8 school districts that feed into the LRHSD are going to lose a total of approximately $24 million.

Broken down into school districts, Evesham Township is estimated to lose about $9,003,394; Lenape Regional is estimated to lose about $8,308,946; Medford Township is estimated to lose about $1,603,435; Shamong Township is estimated to lose about $1,155,459; Southampton Township is estimated to lose about $1,141,089; Tabernacle Township is estimated to lose about $2,752,887 and Woodland Township is estimated to lose about $186,164.

LRHSD is facing a loss of $961,300 for the upcoming 2019–2020 school year.

In a press release provided by the district, the total 2019–2020 general fund operating budget is $154,014,361 which represents a 0.67 percent increase over the previous year. This increase is the net difference of a 2 percent tax levy increase and a decrease of state aid in the amount of $961,300.

The debt service tax levy is increasing by $291,844, which reflects the current payment schedule for the 2019–2020 year that was previously approved by the taxpayers.

The tax levy increase of 2 percent and debt service tax levy increase of $291,844, results in the tax impact listed below:

  • Evesham Township — Tax levy increase of 1.84 cents, resulting in an increase in regional school taxes of $65.78 on a home assessed at the township average of $272,700.
  • Medford Township — Tax levy increase of 1.78 cents, resulting in an increase in regional school taxes of $59.46 on a home assessed at the township average of $326,500.
  • Medford Lakes Borough — Tax levy increase of 4.84 cents, resulting in an increase in regional school taxes of $146.10 on a home assessed at the borough average of $286,540.
  • Mt. Laurel Township — Tax levy increase of 0.32 cents, resulting in an increase in regional school taxes of $7.49 on a home assessed at the township average of $237,600.
  • Shamong Township — Tax levy increase of 1.09 cents, resulting in an increase in regional school taxes of $33.76 on a home assessed at the township average of $308,498.
  • Southampton Township — Tax levy increase of 4.22 cents, resulting in an increase in regional school taxes of $80.98 on a home assessed at the township average of $192,211.
  • Tabernacle Township — Tax levy increase of 1.88 cents, resulting in an increase in regional school taxes of $53.56 on a home assessed at the township average of $264,729.
  • Woodland Township — Tax levy decrease of 1.13 cents, resulting in a decrease in regional school taxes of $28.52 on a home assessed at the township average of $257,000.

Birnbohm said the LRHSD 2018–2019 funding sources come from about 75 percent of tax levy, 19 percent from state aid and 6 percent from miscellaneous. She predicted that by the 2024–2025 school year, about 85 percent would come from tax levy, 14 percent from state aid and 1 percent from miscellaneous.

She said academic programming, social and emotional learning and support, personnel and school facilities are at stake with the upcoming reductions.

Birnbohm suggested residents reach out to legislators to request a pause on state aid cuts. Information regarding legislator contacts and sample emails can be found on lrhsd.org/sos

“They’re going to listen to kids, they’re going to listen to parents, they’re going to listen to educators — so I do need your help in communicating this message, we’re looking at over $24 million leaving the entire region, which could have catastrophic impacts on all of our district operations,” Birnbohm said. “There’s no such thing as winners and losers when it comes to funding education, it is completely unacceptable for us to sit back and say that it’s OK to be a loser for a while.”

The public hearing on the budget will be held on May 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lenape District Administration Building.

In other news:

  • Various residents spoke at public comment about their interest in having a Chinese language course taught within the district. Lindsay Tyburski, a Marlton resident and Shawnee graduate, spoke about her passion with her career as an online teacher to children in China to teach them English language skills. She said that if she had been provided an opportunity to learn Chinese in high school, she could’ve found her ideal career sooner.

The next LRHSD board meeting will be held on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lenape District Administration Building.