For residents of Palmyra, 2019 was a year to remember. Looking ahead at 2020, The Sun recently spoke with Mayor-elect Gina Tait and Superintendent Brian McBride about the upcoming year as they expressed excitement about what’s to come from the township and school district.
As January approaches, it signifies the midway point of the school year, according to McBride. It also highlights preparation for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
“We start that process with a mid-year review of our budget,” said the superintendent. “We do it through the Burlington County Office of Education. It is just a status check to see how we’re doing with our budget and the alignment of those budgets as well as setting goals as we look forward to the next school year.
“We also take this January time frame to see what we spent from our current budget and if we need to re-appropriate those dollars to other endeavors, because things change.”
An example of what McBride and the Palmyra Board of Education look at when they review the current budget is the continuing effort to upgrade the district’s technology and hardware. According to McBride, as the board reviews the settlement of the dollars in the budget, he has seen a need for more technology due to instructional programs and current endeavors that are underway.
Continued maintenance of the Palmyra facilities is one of the main things the board reviews during January. Through the long-range facility plan, the township looks at projects the board wants to accomplish during the summer. The time frame allows the board to budget appropriately and secure contractor and work permits.
“We’re also looking forward to the January reorganization of the board members,” McBride noted. “Newly elected and reelected board members take an oath of office, get sworn in and organize who will be the president, vice president and assign committee chairs.
“For our operational goals, the board is developing the new strategic plan and will work with the community over the next few months to develop goals, objectives and an action plan that supports all of it,” he added.
Outside of preparing operational goals and reviewing budget plans, the board has even more immediate plans to obtain the Master Certification as well as figure out where to allocate the Palmyra High School Foundation for Educational Excellence check the district received at the Dec. 11 board of education meeting. The foundation raised $18,000 at its annual casino night for the Palmyra art department.
For Gina Tait and the Palmyra Borough Council, the main goals and objectives in 2020 are the road development program that has reached $1.1 million dollars in grants, property redevelopment, MLK Day of Service and the Habitat for Humanity Rock the Block event on April 25. Tait also plans to hold block parties to get Palmyra residents out and active.
“Personally, I can’t wait for the neighbor-to-neighbor little miniature block parties,” she enthused “A lot of people don’t know their neighbors. I want to do one section at a time, sit out and everyone come out and talk to everyone.
“It won’t be a major block party; I just want everyone in these sections to come out and meet the people in their neighborhood.”