Proposed Egg Harbor Township school budget up about 2 percent - Egg Harbor Township

Proposed Egg Harbor Township school budget up about 2 percent - Egg Harbor Township

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Proposed Egg Harbor Township school budget up about 2 percent

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Posted: Monday, March 25, 2013 6:55 pm | Updated: 10:36 am, Tue Mar 26, 2013.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The township's school budget will increase by about two percent next year to $113.5 million, school officials said, with the total amount raised by local taxes set to increase by almost three percent to $69.2 million.

The school board is expected to take up the budget at it's meeting Tuesday night.

It is not clear what the effect will be on the average homeowner. The township recently went through its first reassessment since 1996, and district Business Administrator Katerina Bechtel said the district has proposed a school tax rate of $1.813 per $100 of assessed property value.

The township's average residential assessments were not available Monday afternoon.

In 2012, when the average assessment was $137,285, Egg Harbor Township residential property owners paid an average $3,889 in school taxes, with school taxes claiming about two-thirds of the local property taxes.

Superintendent Scott P. McCartney said the largest cost increases this year were related to salaries and benefits. The district is negotiating a new contract with teachers, he said, and has preliminarily budgeted a 2 percent increase, which he said may change based on the contract.

Neither McCartney nor Bechtel could provide overall district salary totals on Monday. Bechtel said health insurance costs have risen about $1.2 million to $21.8 million.

A bigger problem, McCartney said, was the state mandating growth in the township while not fully funding related expenses. He estimated about 2,000 more students are in the district that are not fully funded.

The district also faces increased repayment costs for previous construction projects. The district had anticipated getting an additional $70,558 in state aid but will now lose almost $194,000.

He and others testified in Trenton before the state Senate Education Committee on Thursday, and he said district representatives planned to speak to the General Assembly Education Committee next month.

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