Taxpayers in the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District collectively may pay nearly 12 percent more in taxes next year, triple the 4 percent limit on annual tax-levy increases set by state law.
Of the $30.3 million that will be collected from taxpayers, $1.9 million will be raised outside the cap because the district qualified for a waiver to help open Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City, Business Administrator Tom Grossi said.
The district also qualified this year for a $1.9 million cap waiver to help open Cedar Creek High School in Egg Harbor City, Business Administrator Tom Grossi said.
The collective ratable base throughout Egg Harbor City and Galloway, Hamilton and Mullica townships appreciated enough during the past year to leave the average increase in the tax rate at about 10 percent, according to the budget adopted unanimously by the nine-member Board of Education Monday night.
Students living in Port Republic and Washington Township pay tuition to attend classes at Greater Egg Harbor Regional, which includes Oakcrest and Absegami high schools in Hamilton and Galloway townships, respectively.
The majority of voters who participate in school elections April 20 must approve the $69.3 million budget, which is about $500,000 less than last year’s financial plan.
A failed cumulative vote would warrant additional review by elected municipal officials, who would then override the vote or work on a compromise with the school district.
In 2007, voters passed a referendum that raised another $27 million in extra taxes to cover the $81.7 million it cost to plan, design and build Cedar Creek High School, which will open in the fall.
Officials last year discussed seeking another $34 million referendum this summer to cover facility repairs and upgrades at Oakcrest and Absegami high schools.
They recently said they would delay the initiative, given the $5.8 million in state funding cuts announced since the start of this calendar year.
The news did not cause officials to consider delaying the opening of Cedar Creek High School, nor the start of engineering and environmental science programs there, Grossi said.
It is unclear how negotiations between the district and the Greater Egg Harbor Education Association will affect the predicted 43 layoffs and cuts to funding for non-mandated programs such as sports, non-athletic extracurricular activities and elective classes such as dance, wood shop and others in the performing and related arts category.
Negotiations began last summer, when the association’s contract expired.
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