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Council, K-8 Board Approve Adjusted Budgets

The K-8 school budget for 2011-12 is reduced by $300,000, leaving the average homeowner to pay about $50 more in taxes next year.

The Gloucester Township Board of Education unanimously approved a spending plan with an adjusted tax levy Monday night at Ann A. Mullen Middle School, cutting the 2011-12 school budget by $300,000.

The Board of Education’s decision followed the unanimous certification of the adjusted K-8 district's budget by the Township Council earlier the same evening.

The GTPS rejected budget, defeated in the April election by a relatively narrow margin, totaled $100,912,254. The approved budget calls for spending $100,612,254.

The originally proposed tax rate of 94.96¢ per $100 of assessed property value would have resulted in the owner of the average-priced Gloucester Township home ($199,000) paying $1,889.70 in taxes to Gloucester Township Public Schools for the 2011-12 school year, up from about $1,833 for the current school year.

With the adjusted tax levy approved Monday night, that same taxpayer will pay $1,882.94 to the K-8 district—about $50 more than last year and $7 less than the originally proposed 2011-12 school budget.

Across the state, more than half of all school budgets were rejected by voters in April. Under New Jersey state law, a failed budget is passed to the local governing body within two days of certification of the local election results.

The Town Council had until May 19 to certify a tax levy adjustment. It did so Monday night, certifying adjusted budgets for the K-8 district and the Black Horse Pike Regional high-school district, which is comprised of Highland, Timber Creek and Triton.

Council approved the adjusted K-8 budget with a 5-0 vote. Councilman Franklin Schmidt, a GTPS employee, abstained.

Council approved the Black Horse Pike Regional School District's adjusted budget 6-0.

Councilwoman Crystal Evans did not attend the meeting. Evans' decision to decline Council President Glen Bianchini's invitation to sit on a Council subcommittee charged with suggesting cuts to the defeated school budgets sparked a debate.

As was the case with the K-8 district, the subcommittee, following Township Business Administrator Tom Cardis' recommendation, asked the BHPRSD board to cut $300,000 from its tax levy. 

The BHPRSD board will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the district's Erial Road administration office to vote on the adjusted budget.

In other Gloucester Township Public Schools news:

  • On May 9, during a special reorganization meeting, the Board of Education voted Linda Gilch as Board president and Ellen Reese as vice president. Both Gilch and Reese have served as officers and general members of the Board for about 12 years, according to Superintendent Thomas Seddon. Gilch previously served as vice president. William Collins is outgoing Board President.
  • Earlier this week, a report released by the NJ Department of Education Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance Investigations Unit stated that eight New Jersey teachers breached testing protocols during standardized tests by providing improper assistance during the 2009-10 school year. One of the teachers works at a Gloucester Township school. According to Superintendent Thomas Seddon, the teacher in the township, who had reached tenure, was disciplined. Seddon declined to comment on specific disciplinary action and also to provide the name of the affected school. According to the state DOE, all incidents were at elementary schools.
  • In partnership with the Gloucester Township Police Department, the board approved the installation of SmartBusLive technology on one school bus for the 2011-12 school year. The system is a violation detection system designed to provide evidence of drivers who fail to follow school bus safety laws. There is no cost to the school district to implement this program.
  • Theodore Otten was appointed as principal of Charles W. Lewis Middle School, effective July 1. Otten is currently the school's vice principal.

The Board of Education will hold its final meeting for the 2010-11 school year on June 27 at the district office.

warren hales May 19, 2011 at 01:58 AM
Same OLD political Recycled machine parts about to be sent to the proper place, (The JUNK YARD) First place, DUMB DUMB DRAMA NUT DAN HUTCHISON - IS HE ON CRACK? He acts like it. Dan Hutchison is a JOKE! - a RECYCLED WANNABEE POLITICAN Bianchini = 20 Years on council - Thats Two whole Decades Mercado = 10 Year a Full Decade Schmidt = 17 years Calamere = 40 years Cardis = 18 years Gentek - ??? (Still trying to figure out what that's all about) Mayor Dave Mayer - Another Recycled Politician puppet to the Norcross
l t Paine May 27, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Well welcome to the Gloucester Twp Schools end of the year buying frenzy and the famous district Budget shell game. Well let's start with May's Board meeting. You have Resolution #OSH-35 for 100 new HP Tablet PCs for $151,236, I have no prolem buying new PCs, my problem is budget for them don't buy them at the end of the year because you don't want residents to see that you had extra money. Now budget transfers $50,000 taken from that account of Maintenance Supervisor salary you know the position that doesn't exist and moved to Grounds Equipment account and guess what on June 9, 2011 there is a bid opening for a new Backhoe,. Like I said I have no problem if they budget for it, but don't buy it because you don't want residents to see you didn't spend all this year's money. The Fiscal school year ends June 30 and there is a Board Meeting June 27, wonder how many budget transfers and new PO's at that meeting? I wonder who is watching out for the taxpayers of Gloucester Township because I have serious doubts it's the Board or the current Administration(the Superintendent or Business Agent). Yet they have the never to tell people of difficult choices when they had to cut $300,00 from the new budget , it just goes to show how much "FLUFF' is buried in this Budget. You have to ask where is the Board in all this?
Joshua Berry May 27, 2011 at 10:01 PM
South Jersey Citizens is watching out for the taxpayer. LT: right now we are busy with the municipal government and the pay to play laws, but will be moving to the schools when we have the manpower to. We need people like yourself to step forward and give us the information so we can do an investigation. Set up a fake email account and send the information to info@southjerseycitizens.org when we get something credible, we'll look into it. I realize you work for the schools and are afraid of retribution fpr speaking out. But if you know of anyone interested in helping us be a watchdog for the people, please put them in contact with us.
mathforeveryone June 08, 2011 at 01:08 AM
It's great to know that a teacher within our public schools cheated on the standardized testing and still gets to keep their job. It also turns my stomach that we the parents aren't being told who did it but yet that same teacher will demand the respect and honesty from my child even though they are morally bankrupt. You can forget my "yes" vote next school budget because I don't want a penny going to that teacher! I hope others will join me and say enough! Pardon me, I forgot you aren't allowed to teach morals in our public schools!
l t Paine June 10, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Would you expect anything less from this Board and the current crop top Administrators in the District they had the power to do something and chose not to. It's the same message over and over "do as I say, not as I do" whether it be simple morals like in the case you stated or preaching fiscal responsibility to the public and then spending in a mad rush what you haven't used before June 30. You are right voters should vote down any budget they put in front of you until the Board and Administration are willing to listen to the public and practice what they preach.

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