Harrison Township school budget revised due to pandemic

The Harrison Township Board of Education's Financial plan reflects a loss of $280,009 in state aid

A shot of buses in the lot at Clearview Regional High School. A shared agreement with Kingsway Highschool for bus maintenance was approved during the April 26 Board of Education Meeting. (James Jackson, The Sun)

From a budget and funding perspective, the Harrison Township school board saw a dip in student enrollment this year.

During its April 26 session, the board announced that the number of students enrolled for this academic year is 1,268. For next year, the projected enrollment will be 1,280.

The enrollment figures are significantly lower than in previous years because parents have found alternative ways of learning for their kids, including homeschooling and private education. Since students who choose in-person education are still learning virtually for half the school day, the board is continuing its one-to-one initiative with Chromebook. Moving forward, the initiative will be for grades two through six.

In terms of state aid, the township school district is expected to lose $280,009 in 2021-2022. Loss of aid in this year’s budget amounted to $467,478.

For the next three years, the loss in aid amounts to $477,000. Business Administrator Robert Scharle notes that those figures can always change as long as enrollment goes up and district income levels out. 

“We are always looking for ways to save money,” said Scharle. 

One way is for the township to enter into shared-service agreements in other towns. A behavioral specialist shared-service agreement with the Gateway Regional School District is in place, and an agreement with Kingsway High School for bus maintenance was approved.

In other news, the school board approved the purchase of three additional bus cameras to enhance safety. The move was possible through the submission of a grant application for the state’s 2021 Safety Grant Program through the New Jersey School Insurance Group.

The board also announced that Patricia Zane, business office specialist for the district, has retired after 18 years. 

The next board of education meeting will be held on Monday, May 24, starting at 7 p.m. 

For more information about future sessions, visit https://www.harrisontwp.k12.nj.us/Page/9