The Mount Laurel Board of Education adopted a 2022-’23 district budget of more than $8 million at its April 26 meeting.
Included in the plan are supplies and materials such as digital books and STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Math) materials and supplies. The budget also allows for technology upgrades, including GPS tracking systems and live-camera access for added safety on school buses.
The budget’s total is $83,056,179, an increase of $1,409,359, or 1.73 percent, from last year. Budgeted funds will be accumulated through the local school tax (81 percent), state aid (9 percent), federal aid (2.6 percent) and district-generated funds (6.7 percent).
The budget will pay for instructional programs (76.4 percent), operation maintenance utilities (7.8 percent), administration (6.2 percent), transportation (4.5 percent), debt service (4.1 percent) and capital expenditures (1 percent).
Superintendent Dr. George Rafferty cited the support of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and the Mount Laurel Public Education Fund Inc. as key to funding various programs and activities for students.
“Our public ed fund is an organization that provides funding for our district so that we can do extra things that are not our basic educational needs,” he explained. “The PTO supports us as well through various fundraisers, and you can see the kind of things we’re able to do, especially in a school district of our size, due to both of their support – which is tremendous.
“Many of our field trips, after-school clubs and extracurricular activities would not be possible without their support,” Rafferty added. “They make up a big part of enabling us to do the things that we do.”
Rafferty also noted that the current curriculum – excluding math and some English Language Arts – will need to be rewritten according to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, which were updated two years ago. School staff committees and groups are working to complete the update before the curriculum deadline in September.
“Because of the pandemic, the state has given us two additional years to get this job done, so by September 2022, we need to have our new curriculum aligned with those new learning standards,” Rafferty said.
The next board meeting will be on May 24 at Thomas E. Harrington Middle School.