HomeCherry Hill NewsBoard dips into capital funds to ensure facilities' maintenance

Board dips into capital funds to ensure facilities’ maintenance

With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in statewide budget cuts, Cherry Hill Public Schools are working to ensure the district is on sound financial footing.

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At its latest virtual meeting, the Cherry Hill Board of Education voted to withdraw funds from the district’s capital reserve account to finance facilities projects in the year ahead.

On Tuesday, June 9, the board approved the use of $2,180,000 from the capital reserve. Of that, $475,000 will go toward a security vestibule project at Henry C. Beck Middle School, and $1,950,000 will fund a roofing project at Richard Stockton Elementary School. 

In late May, the New Jersey Department of Education released revised state aid figures that show a $335-million decrease in proposed funding. Cherry Hill schools are looking at a decrease of around $2.3 million from what was initially proposed in February.

Board member Kimberly Friddell expressed concerns about withdrawing from the capital reserve, given the upcoming statewide cuts. 

“I don’t think we’ve had enough discussion on these issues,” she said. 

Lynn Shugars, assistant superintendent and business/ board secretary, explained that the district has already assessed how to account for the $2.3-million cut, going through its facilities and putting a variety of projects on hold. 

She said the mission is always to maintain staff, so the district has decided to forego planned furniture, flooring and painting refurbishments at Horace Mann and Kingston elementary schools. The district is also holding off on paving projects and other facilities work. Shugars said anything critical to student and staff health and safety was left in the budget.

The board also approved withdrawal of funds in the amount of $5,000,000 from the capital reserve account to be transferred to the capital outlay account. Shugars explained the transfer ensures access to the funds. The money will go toward bond referendum preparations as the district works toward a fall 2021 vote. Should the district have an urgent need arise, it can also use the money for other capital projects. 

Board member Carol Matlack said the business and finance committee recommended the transfer and asked the board to consider moving additional funds into the account to ensure the district’s ability to maintain facilities. 

“It is fiscally responsible for us to move this money at this time,” Matlack noted. 

Board President Lisa Saidel asked members if they would like the district’s administrative staff to consider moving additional funds. The board unanimously agreed to have the administration weigh in and to discuss the matter again at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, June 23. 


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