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.