The Gloucester Township Board of Education held a one-item special session on Monday, May 13 to approve the 2019-2020 school budget. The budget was originally presented and tabled at the regular board meeting on Monday, April 29.
This time the budget was approved by an 8-1 vote one day before the deadline.
Very little changed with the budget numbers. The BOE is still expecting total appropriations set at $118 million, the budget will feature an increase in the local school tax rate from $1.147 per every $100 of assessed property value to $1.159 per every $100 of assessed property value.
“There has not been an adjustment to the proposed increase. It still remains at $22,” said Superintendent John Bilodeau.
The biggest change to the numbers was the inclusion of $217,133 in the general fund appropriations to the BOE’s approved capital reserve account instead of the proposed $417,133. The change allows for increased operations and includes three new positions for hire.
“The positions were essentially met with changing the amount of deposit into the capital reserve account, that is essentially the funding source of the three positions, so there wasn’t any additional impact,” said Bilodeau.
The three positions include two full-time administration positions, one in human resources and one in maintenance. The third position is a part-time investigator for the district.
As of now, the capital reserve funds will be used on the replacement of various roofs throughout the school district, with $3.2 million allocated for those projects. The board allocated $125,000 for a district-wide wireless upgrade. Gloucester Township and Glendora elementary schools are upgrading their electrical systems, which will take $100,000 out of the capital reserve.
Just because the budget was squared away doesn’t mean all parents and teachers were fully behind what was in it.
Several parents were concerned the traditional student government overnight field trip to Washington, D.C, could be scaled back from a two-day trip to a one-day trip. Bilodeau explained why the board is pondering the idea to shorten the trip length.
“The budget does have an advisor whether the trip to Washington is overnight or a singular day trip, which is going to be proposed for next year. Technically there are no monies in the budget for Ann Mullen and/or Glen Landing schools. It’s really school-based dollars to fund the trip,” said Bilodeau.
Bilodeau said the BOE will look further into the field trip matter.
The next Gloucester Township BOE meeting is scheduled for May 20.