WILDWOOD CREST — The school district’s proposed 2010-11 budget relies on a tax levy of $6.84 million, an increase of $954,094 over the previous year’s spending plan.
“Severe cuts in state aid are resulting in an increase to the amount local taxpayers will have to contribute towards next year’s school budget,” Superintendent Dennis J. Anderson said Wednesday.
The corresponding tax rate is also increasing 4.4 cents from 25.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation last year to 29.9 cents for the coming budget year.
The increase means the school tax bill on a property valued at $300,000 would be $897, an increase of $132.
“We absolutely are aware of the economic conditions in our town, our state and our nation,” Anderson said, “so we have done everything we can to keep our budget as tight as possible. We are making every effort to avoid staff and program cuts, but everything is on the table.”
School business administrator Greg Rohrman said the district, currently home to 270 students in pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, lost $333,000 in state aid, the equivalent of 46 percent of its total state aid.
The school budget calls for the elimination of one support staff position, but otherwise does not include any other layoffs, Rohrman said.
Rohrman said the district is looking at cuts in the club activities it provides and is also considering reducing some of the extra-curricular activities depending on participation in those programs.
A summer academic help program is also being eliminated.
Rohrman added that it was too early to know about any staff retirements that might have an impact on the budget.
Anderson noted that the district’s staff already contributes to the cost of healthcare and he pointed to shared services efforts that are already in place to save money. He and Rohrman, for instance, work for both Wildwood and Wildwood Crest and the two districts split the cost.
The district also brought special needs students back into the district rather than send them out of district for various tuition rates.
Anderson said the cuts in state aid along with tuition increases, increasing utility bills and contractual personnel increases account for the growing tax levy.
“Those are all costs beyond our control,” Anderson said. “In those areas where we do have control of the cost, the board has held the line.”
A public hearing on the $7.4 million budget is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 30 in the media center at Crest Memorial School, 9100 Pacific Ave.
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