Delran board of education approves 2020-21 budget

Taxes expected to increase by two percent over last year.

At its most recent public session, Delran’s Board of Education passed its operating budget for the 2020-21 academic year.

During the April 27 virtual meeting, the nine-member body signed off on a package with a total budget of $55,997,401, which includes a General Fund amount of $52,779,242. The General Fund local tax levy amounts to $33,343,638, an increase of more than $653K over the previous year’s allotment.

Also bundled in the total budget amount is $2.345 million in debt service and $873K in a Special Revenue Fund.

With the 2 percent increase through the tax levy, that means, for an average assessed home value in the township of $212,000, residents can expect their tax bill to increase by $186.33, or $15.52 per month. 

“I am pleased that the operating budget allows Delran Township Public Schools to maintain the terrific services on instruction and operations. The board worked for the better part of a calendar year to arrive at a budget that allowed the district to maintain services while minimizing impact to the taxpayers in the township,” said Superintendent Brian Brotschul. 

Included in the budget is a $181,400 withdrawal of Capital Reserve Funds, which the district intends to use for Delran Intermediate School storefront replacement ($106,000) and Delran High School cafeteria floor replacement ($75,000). 

Additionally, Delran appears to be in line for a 15.46-percent increase in state aid over the past year, expected to receive $18.4 million from Trenton for 2020 after having received $15.84 million in 2019. 

Passage of the budget allows the district to prepare for any potential impacts connected to the coronavirus pandemic. Although these mitigating circumstances are unknown at present, Brotschul said Delran is bracing for what could be a significant cut in state assistance. 

“To that end we have targeted specific initiatives that would not be initiated until the fiscal picture from the state level is clearer to us,” he explained. 

One project which will be held until the impact of COVID-19 can be properly assessed in the district is the proposed $1.2 million parking lot renovation and new parking lot construction at Millbridge Elementary School.

Approval of the pact means the district will better be able to advance five main priorities: to maintain all curricular programs, extracurricular programs and personnel; to meet all special education needs and operate them with efficiency; to support programs for all English language learner students; to allow for the maintenance of current level of transportation services; and maintaining all safety and security personnel.

“The budget affords the opportunity for additional Delran Township students who are classified for special education services to attend District schools. Delran High School and Delran Middle School are both hosting new programs that allow for our students to attend neighborhood schools right here,” Brotschul added.

Tentative passage of the budget occurred at the board’s March 16 session. 

A comprehensive breakdown of the district’s budget for the next academic year, as well as the district’s plans for distance learning for the remainder of the current academic year, can be found at delranschools.org.