The Eastern Camden County Regional High School District Board of Education met on May 5 for a virtual presentation of its 2021-’22 budget led partly by Superintendent Robert Cloutier and Business Administrator Kenneth Verrill.
Cloutier reported that the budget maintains all current instructional athletic programs, all student activities and all staffing levels, while sports activity fees will remain the same. He also announced that there will be the following new clubs added next year: Coding; Girls Who Start Businesses; Medical/Model UN; and the return of the Gay Straight Alliance Network, all of which have been requested by students.
The total budget for the 2021-2022 school year is $42,148,725, about $1 million higher than last year. About $2.7 million will go toward the district’s capital projects, including the replacement of four HVAC units, tennis courts, upgrading of Eastern’s security camera system to a digital one and the replacement of one hot water boiler unit. Verrill noted that in the budget, those items are accounted for as “withdraw from capital reserve” and “withdraw from maintenance reserve.” The district has also budgeted $100,000 more for extraordinary aid in the general fund revenue for special education.
The local tax levy will increase 2 percent this year, not surprising given that Verrill’s presentation showed a steady increase of around 2 percent for every year since 2014.
“With the exception of three years, it’s (the tax levy increase) all been right in line with 2 percent,” he explained. “I think it’s very worth seeing that, because it shows you how well we’re working within the budget to make that budget work.”
On average per year, Berlin Borough residents should expect a $90 increase; Gibbsboro, $141; and Voorhees, $11. According to Verrill’s presentation, “the difference in payments are due to the change in assessments in each municipality as well as the change in municipal-percent shares as calculated by the state of New Jersey.”
The business administrator also noted that there has been an increase of $86,297 in state aid, due to a slight increase in enrollment last year, bringing the total amount of state money up to $9,157,540.
The full presentation is available on the board’s website at https://www.eccrsd.us/Page/128.
In other news:
- The district will fill two positions, one for family and consumer sciences and the other for business.
- The math curriculum will be expanded.
- The Dual-Credit program will continue, enabling high-school students to receive college credit from Camden County College.
- The One-to-One iPad initiative continues.
- The African American Heritage and Holocaust courses will have higher numbers next year.
- New science textbooks will be added, as will a new accounting program for business classes.
The board also reiterated that there will be a Camden County School Board Association virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 18. More information can be found at https://www.njsba.org/counties/camden/.
Verrill also noted that there will be two board-member seats available for Voorhees and that petitions should be submitted to the Camden County Clerk (preferably in person) no later than July 26 at 4 p.m. The board-member elections will be held on Nov. 2.
The next board meeting will be Wednesday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. This meeting will be held in person, but can also be accessed by Zoom. There will be a ceremony recognizing retirees and special-education programs before the meeting, to be held in gym 1 of Eastern Regional High School.