Board of education receives more details on proposed budget

At its latest monthly public session, Haddonfield’s board of education received a more detailed breakdown regarding its expected budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year. Board Secretary and Assistant Business Administrator Michael Catalano made the presentation, as he did four weeks prior, but this time with greater in-depth figures.

The district’s total operating budget was cited as $42,348,237, an expected decrease from last year of $1.5 million, or 3.43 percent. The local tax levy is again only expected to increase by the maximum allowable 2 percent, since Haddonfield is unable to do so via an enrollment adjustment, healthcare adjustment or banked cap amount. 

“The only way you are allowed to statutorily go above 2 percent is to take one of these three adjustments. We are not eligible for any of those, so the only thing we have to increase the tax levy is that 2 percent cap,” Catalano explained. 

Per Catalano, borough homeowners will be paying approximately $1,761 more in property taxes for every $100,000 of assessed home value with the increase. That means, a residence valued at the median amount of $512,368 is expected to see a boost of $59 per year or about $5 per month. 

“As much as we like to discuss numbers, we’re here to talk about what this money does,” noted Superintendent Chuck Klaus. “It’s to maintain the excellent education our students are getting.”

The county superintendent is expected to approve what is intended to be a finalized document by April 20. Nine days later, at the board’s following open public meeting, there is expected to be a public hearing followed by final passage of the budget.

For a full breakdown of Catalano’s presentation, visit: https://haddonfieldschools.org/announcements-and-news-releases/.

In other news:

  • In his own presentation, Klaus spoke about his plans for Phase III, which embraces five-day, in-person instruction. The latest adjustment is set for April 12 for grades 1 through 5 and then April 19 for grades 6 through 12. Klaus suggested parents contact their respective school principals for the particulars. All virtual learning is expected to remain an option for all three levels, for the remainder of the current school year.
  • The nine-member body approved tuition rates for the 2021-22 academic year: $3,060 for preschool, $13,600 for middle school, $16,320 for high school and $25,750 for international students. 
  • Haddonfield Memorial HIgh School junior and student board representative Will Kennedy reported that his peers are adjusting well to the change to Phase II four-day week in-school instruction, which began on March 15. He cited the question of how to be properly inclusive given the small percentage of students still online who are not part of the classroom environment, has yet to be effectively resolved. Kennedy also stated that the junior and senior proms are expected to be held in some form, while freshman and sophomore dances are “a bit more tentative.”