Galloway Township voters will decide in April whether to pay 2.1 percent more to fund the township public school district, according to budget information provided Tuesday by district officials.

The Board of Education voted 8-0 Monday night to approve the $57.5 million budget, which is $3.8 million, or 6 percent less than last year's financial plan.

Withheld and reduced state aid initially left Galloway with $5 million to make up, but the state ultimately allowed the district to use $2 million to build a gym at the Reeds Road School. The board approved related construction contracts last week for 33 percent less than expected. The district will pay with capital reserve, so new taxes are not needed support that project.

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Parents and staff who turned out for the meeting were glad to hear that previously discussed cuts to music were not happening.

As Superintendent of Schools Douglas Groff went through the spending plan, the audience erupted in applause when "same as current program" appeared next to "instrumental music program."

"There's no good way to put a budget together this year," Groff said. "It was very difficult but I think we tried to maintain a few more services for students."

Four teachers also were saved to allow for manageable class sizes in the district's full-day kindergarten program. But since registration doesn't begin until April 7, it is not known how many students will actually apply. If the number is lower than expected, the four teachers will be put elsewhere.

The budget is expected to raise the tax rate by 1.5 cents, meaning the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $15 more for the year. An owner of a $200,000 home would pay $30 more.

"I hope people realize $30 is not a lot of money to continue to support education," Groff said.

No matter what, he noted, school will start in September.

"We're going to educate them. But it's going to be in a lot different way with a lot fewer resources."

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Galloway Township Public School District budget, 2010-11

2009-10 2010-11

$61.4 million $57.5 million

$1.51 $0.81

1.90% -46.60%

$29.1 million $29.7 million

1.70% 2.10%

$3,070 $1,611.40

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