Moorestown residents could see school tax increase

District’s proposed temporary budget calls for a 2.29-percent hike.

Residents could be in for a tax increase if the temporary budget presented at last Tuesday’s board of education meeting is approved come April. As proposed, the average assessed home valued at $457,793 will see an annual tax increase of $99.34.

The board approved the budget on first reading with all members voting yes; Mark Villanueva voted no.

For those who attended the March 16 meeting virtually, Business Administrator/Board Secretary James M. Heiser walked through the approximately $78 million budget.

He began his presentation by noting that this year’s plan proved especially difficult given the financial constraints of COVID-19. 

“Typically budget season is a heavy lift; everything else around it has been even heavier,” Heiser said. 

The district proposed a 2.29-percent tax levy that exceeds the 2-percent tax levy cap. It is able to exceed the 2-percent cap by also utilizing $190,000 of banked cap, which gets included in the tax levy. The proposed levy will net the district approximately $67.2 million, a $1,504,573 increase from the previous year. 

The district anticipates around $4.4 million in state aid, a $484,264 increase compared with the district’s 2020-2021 adjusted state aid. While the district initially contended with a nearly $3 million deficit when it first compiled all of the building based  and other departmental budgets that go toward the general fund, the budget team ultimately made several adjustments to refine requests and went through a prioritization process to determine what requests it could fulfill, according to Heiser.

Ultimately, some of the adjustments included removing $667,252 in new-position requests from the budget (allowing for a $183,956 benefits adjustment); $466,291 in cuts to the department/building level budgets and a $630,000 reduction to capital outlay. 

In terms of additions. The budget includes curriculum writing based on newly released updated standards; a summer engagement program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade; technology replacement and facilities updates, including window repairs and gym-floor coating.

In other news:

  • The board accepted Superintendent Dr. Scott McCartney’s retirement on Tuesday night. 

“As a district, yesterday, today and tomorrow, I only wish you our students and this community the best; stay healthy and well,” McCartney said.

Board President Caryn Shaw said while saying goodbye to McCartney is difficult, she’s excited for him to spend more time with his family and to pursue post-retirement opportunities.

“Thank you so much for your time here,” Shaw said. “You will be missed.”

  • The budget will be up for second reading and final approval at the board’s next meeting on April 27 at 7 p.m.