Greater Egg Harbor Regional’s school budget for 2014-15 maintains all current program and keeps the property tax levy increase for the operating budget within the two percent cap.
“There’s not much change, and there are no layoffs,” Business Administrator Charles Muller said.
The $66.5 million 2014-15 operating budget is about $500,000 less than the 2013-14 $66.9 million budget, but includes less surplus and reserve funds than were available in 2013-14 to help offset property taxes.
The local property tax levy for the operating budget increases from $29.3 million to $29.8 million. The tax levy for debt service increases from $2.1 million to $3.3 million. This year the district used about $1.3 million left over from other projects to pay down the debt service levy, but those funds are not available for 2014-15.
All four districts will see a property tax increase.
In Galloway Township the property tax rate will increase 2.8 cents or about $28 per year for each $100,000 of assessed property value.
In Hamilton Township the property tax rate will increase 2.4 cents, or about $24 per year for each $100,000 of assessed property value.
In Mullica Township the property tax rate will increase 4.7 cents, or about $47 per year for each $100,000 of assessed property value.
In Egg Harbor City the property tax rate will increase 3.1 cents, or about $31 for each $100,000 of assessed property value.
The districts has posted both the budget and a Powerpoint presentation on its website, www.gehrhsd.net, that break down the tax levy and costs by district.
The budget does propose expanding the dual credit program with Richard Stockton College, which allows students to get college credit at a very discounted rate for approved courses they take at the high school.
The district also plans to start a biomedical science magnet program at Oakcrest High School using the Project Lead the Way program, and a homeland security and public safety magnet program at Absegami High School. There are also plans to have an in-house autism program in conjunction with the Y.A.L.E. School, a private school for the disabled.
District officials are also consdering an application to join the Interdistrict Public School Choice program, which would allow students from outside the district to attend the GEHR high schools.
Superintendent Steven Ciccariello said the proposal to become a choice district is still in the planning stages, and noted that the state has not yet even posted the application. He said they are still discussing how many students they might accept, and if admission would be linked to the magnet programs at the district’s three high schools. If approved, the earliest the district could begin to accept students would be September 2015.
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