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Mullica Township 1st day of school

Students in Mullica Township packed classrooms and hallways for the first day of the new school year Sept. 5.

For the third year in a row, the Atlantic City School District will not increase its tax levy on residents — but it does plan major infrastructure investments, including buying a new administration building.

City school Business Administrator Celeste Ricketts detailed the budget at the board meeting Monday, the last day as required by state guidelines for districts to hold a public hearing on their budgets. Greater Egg Harbor Regional also held its budget hearing Monday.

The $181.6 million budget includes $5 million to purchase a new administration building. Currently, the district is leasing two floors in the Citi Center building at 1300 Atlantic Ave.

“We are in our last year of the lease, so we couldn’t do anything until the lease was up,” Ricketts said.

She said the rent has gone up every year, with the cost in this year’s budget at $660,185. If the school district does not find a new home, its rent in the 2019-20 budget would be $870,000.

Ricketts said for the cost of rent, the district could have already purchased a new building.

The 2018-19 budget also includes nearly $2 million for bathroom renovations and $1.2 million to replace the floors at Atlantic City High School. Much of the funding for the capital projects will come from about $16 million in fund balance from the past two years, Ricketts said.

Ricketts said because of the uncertainty of Atlantic City’s revenue from the state’s payment-in-lieu-of-taxes deal with the casinos, the tax rate has not been determined.

The PILOT is a 10-year financial agreement that began in 2016 between Atlantic County, the state and the casinos to offset the sharp decline in property-tax revenue from casinos.

In 2017, the county and several municipalities sued over the percentage they received from the PILOT, and last month they agreed to a settlement, although how much money Atlantic City will retain is unclear.

The Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District, which includes Oakcrest, Absegami and Cedar Creek high schools, on Monday approved a $74.5 million budget, $5.4 million of which is designated for debt service and $1.3 million for special revenue.

The total tax levy is $36.6 million. The tax rates will increase for Egg Harbor City, Galloway and Hamilton townships, but will go down for Mullica Township.

Most schools in South Jersey already had adopted their budgets before Monday, many with slight increases to the tax rate, although some districts had reductions. Per state rules, May 14 is the deadline for budget adoption.

Egg Harbor Township’s school budget carries a 2.4-cent increase in its tax rate, the lowest increase in four years.

“We were able to get there because of our ability to control spending and to restructure our long-term debt,” Board of Education President Peter Castellano said.

The budget was helped this year by a bump in state aid, he said.

“That additional aid allows us to maintain what we have, without the need to make drastic cuts as we have in the past. However, we have a long way to go before we are fully funded, and there are many things we still need to do for our students, including full-day kindergarten and preschool,” Castellano said.

He said the district also hopes to increase security measures.

There are still a few school districts in the state — Corbin City, Ventnor, Margate, Port Republic and Brigantine among them — that are subject to different rules. These Type I schools, which have appointed boards of education, must have the budget approved by a body called the board of school estimate.

They had an April 23 deadline.

In a unique situation, the Ventnor school board worked out an agreement with the city to reduce its local tax burden and complete capital projects. Ventnor school board President James Pacanowski said the budget as introduced included $1.8 million for capital projects including HVAC repairs, funded from the district’s operating budget. That budget was rejected by the board of school estimate due to the expenditure, he said. Instead of the school funding the repairs, the City Commission agreed to bond the $1.8 million.

“We reduced our tax levy by $1.3 million in order to make that happen, and that tax savings should be for the next couple of years,” Pacanowski said. “We can now rest assured for the next five years our capital projects are going to be taken care of.”

What is your district’s proposed tax rate?{/span}{span class=”print_trim”}(tncms-asset)5d451c28-5228-11e8-ba85-00163ec2aa77[0](/tncms-asset)

Contact: 609-272-7251 CLowe@pressofac.com Twitter @clairelowe

2018-19 User Friendly Budgets

The following information was collected through the published user-friendly budget documents from each school district. The operating budget does not include debt or special revenue. The tax rates are estimates as provided by the user-friendly budget and based on total municipal valuations from October of the previous year.

County Name District Name Total operating budget (does not include capital or debt service) Total school tax levy Estimated 18-19 Tax rate per $100 of assessed value 17-18 tax rate Change in rate
ATLANTIC Absecon Public Schools District $14,648,375.00 $12,427,453.00 1.7645 1.6886 0.0759
ATLANTIC Atlantic City School District n/a n/a n/a 0.6429 n/a
ATLANTIC Brigantine Public School District $19,841,564.00 $15,888,114.00 0.4892 0.4912 -0.0020
ATLANTIC Buena Regional School District $36,944,195.00
*Buena Boro $4,620,992.00 1.5779 1.4997 0.0782
*Buena Vista Township $9,975,840.00 1.5577 1.5304 0.0273
ATLANTIC Corbin City School District $1,336,022.00 $510,842.00 1.0017 1.0044 -0.0027
ATLANTIC Egg Harbor City School District $8,959,293.00 $3,255,112.00 1.6451 1.4380 0.2071
ATLANTIC Egg Harbor Township School District $128,939,793.00 $81,995,515.00 2.0137 2.0066 0.0071
ATLANTIC Estell Manor City School District $4,956,977.00 $2,374,305.00 1.5386 1.5386 0.0000
ATLANTIC Folsom Borough School District $8,624,408.00 $1,871,223.00 1.7336 1.7371 -0.0035
ATLANTIC Galloway Township Public Schools $61,150,559.00 $32,419,298.00 1.2028 1.1785 0.0243
ATLANTIC Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District $67,848,461.00 (pending board approval)
*Galloway $18,694,582.98 0.6936 0.6882 0.0054
*Hamilton $13,402,242.30 0.6399 0.6026 0.0373
*Mullica $2,981,199.91 1.0193 1.0641 -0.0448
*Egg Harbor City $1,501,262.81 0.7587 0.6765 0.0822
ATLANTIC Hamilton Township School District $45,748,344.00 $21,810,416.00 1.0432 1.0262 0.0170
ATLANTIC Hammonton School District $47,346,707.00 $19,649,695.00 1.4410 1.4435 -0.0025
ATLANTIC Linwood City School District $14,218,698.00 $11,362,920.00 1.1962 1.1737 0.0225
ATLANTIC Longport Board of Education $1,298,654.00 $1,196,879.00 0.0654 0.0581 0.0073
ATLANTIC Mainland Regional High School District $28,632,184.00
*Somers Point $7,339,959.00 0.6398 0.6157 0.0241
*Linwood $6,714,882.00 0.7069 0.6719 0.0350
*Northfield $6,386,317.00 0.7161 0.6707 0.0454
ATLANTIC Margate City School District $12,822,322.00 $10,511,408.00 0.2893 0.2920 -0.0027
ATLANTIC Mullica Township School District $10,927,813.00 $4,482,949.00 1.5359 1.4586 0.0773
ATLANTIC Northfield City School District $14,413,869.00 $10,051,890.00 1.1063 1.0628 0.0435
ATLANTIC Pleasantville Public School District $77,832,895.00 $9,895,141.00 n/a 1.0704 n/a
ATLANTIC Port Republic School District $2,996,815.00 $1,793,295.00 1.5749 2.2222 -0.6473
ATLANTIC Somers Point School District $16,546,284.00 $10,657,006.00 0.9140 0.8813 0.0327
ATLANTIC Ventnor City School District $20,126,681.00 $17,055,694.00 0.8455 0.7484 0.0971
ATLANTIC Weymouth Township School District $5,069,624.00 $2,315,858.00 1.4335 1.4056 0.0279
CAPE MAY Avalon School District $4,090,757.00 $3,078,694.00 0.0345 0.0410 -0.0065
CAPE MAY Cape May City School District $4,016,204.00 $1,849,389.00 0.0657 0.0657 0.0000
CAPE MAY Cape May Point School District n/a n/a n/a 0.0229 n/a
CAPE MAY Dennis Township School District $16,968,750.00 $10,061,730.00 1.1447 1.1016 0.0431
CAPE MAY Lower Cape May Regional School District $35,404,456.00
*Cape May $6,900,625.00 0.2439 0.2069 0.0370
*Lower Township $13,081,211.00 0.3364 0.3645 -0.0281
*West Cape May $1,835,277.00 0.3778 0.3621 0.0157
CAPE MAY Lower Township Elementary School District $28,177,062.00 $17,143,257.00 0.4729 0.4666 0.0063
CAPE MAY Middle Township Public School District $44,130,271.00 $27,859,301.00 1.0168 1.0024 0.0144
CAPE MAY North Wildwood School District $8,873,500.00 $7,232,444.00 0.2801 0.2721 0.0080
CAPE MAY Ocean City School District $42,457,203.00 $25,253,453.00 0.2160 0.2175 -0.0015
CAPE MAY Sea Isle City Board of Education $2,380,329.00 $1,827,302.00 0.0406 0.0405 0.0001
CAPE MAY Stone Harbor School District $3,326,916.00 $2,543,276.00 0.0526 0.0560 -0.0034
CAPE MAY Upper Township School District $36,144,709.00 $24,290,000.00 1.3081 1.3403 -0.0322
CAPE MAY West Cape May Elementary School District $2,023,498.00 $1,226,519.00 0.2316 0.2277 0.0039
CAPE MAY West Wildwood School District n/a n/a n/a 0.4818 n/a
CAPE MAY Wildwood City School District $19,256,663.00 $11,307,802.00 0.8040 0.7762 0.0278
CAPE MAY Wildwood Crest Borough School District $9,892,877.00 $7,541,532.00 0.3287 0.3225 0.0062
CAPE MAY Woodbine School District $4,954,539.00 $1,931,419.00 1.0956 1.0607 0.0349
CUMBERLAND Bridgeton City School District $100,991,946.00 $3,694,291.00 0.7543 0.7547 -0.0004
CUMBERLAND Commercial Township School District $12,973,247.00 $2,086,387.00 0.7387 0.6963 0.0424
CUMBERLAND $24,505,106.00
*Deerfield $1,126,746.00 0.5889 0.5923 -0.0034
*Fairfield Township $1,672,269.00 0.5364 0.5312 0.0052
*Greenwich Township $465,374.00 0.6097 0.8263 -0.2166
*Hopewell Township $1,860,420.00 0.6040 0.5964 0.0076
*Shiloh Boro $94,646.00 0.2882 0.3622 -0.0740
*Stow Creek Township $717,923.00 0.6680 0.5509 0.1171
*Upper Deerfield Township $3,422,537.00 0.5447 0.5268 0.0179
CUMBERLAND Deerfield Township School District $5,504,796.00 $2,899,386.00 1.5175 1.4755 0.0420
CUMBERLAND Downe Township School District $3,602,352.00 $1,464,606.00 0.8530 0.8398 0.0132
CUMBERLAND Fairfield Township School District n/a n/a n/a 0.4592 n/a
CUMBERLAND Greenwich Township School District $1,399,773.00 $941,583.00 1.5037 1.4650 0.0387
CUMBERLAND Hopewell Township School District $8,085,557.00 $3,374,610.00 1.0995 1.3614 -0.2619
*Shiloh Boro $318,285.00 0.9672 0.9125 0.0547
CUMBERLAND Lawrence Township School District $9,022,092.00 $2,474,829.00 1.0588 0.9995 0.0593
CUMBERLAND Maurice River Township School District $8,392,377.00 $3,042,422.00 1.0181 0.9841 0.0340
CUMBERLAND Millville School District $92,055,657.00 $12,247,999.00 0.8306 0.8155 0.0151
CUMBERLAND Stow Creek Township School District $2,137,674.00 $1,100,575.00 1.0279 1.0080 0.0199
CUMBERLAND Upper Deerfield Township School District $15,055,713.00 $7,450,954.00 1.1865 1.1632 0.0233
CUMBERLAND Vineland Public School District $175,431,430.00 $23,753,425.00 0.6162 0.5919 0.0243
OCEAN Beach Haven School District $2,270,553.00 $1,998,934.00 n/a 0.1075 n/a
OCEAN Eagleswood Township School District $3,066,392.00 $2,407,685.00 1.0213 1.0089 0.0124
OCEAN Little Egg Harbor Township School District $23,043,020.00 $13,553,182.00 0.5925 0.5871 0.0054
OCEAN Long Beach Island Consolidated School District $7,861,525.00
*Barnegat Light Boro $463,569.00 0.0463 0.0455 0.0008
*Harvey Cedars Boro $581,993.00 0.0469 0.0453 0.0016
*Long Beach Township $3,984,969.00 0.0508 0.0483 0.0025
*Ship Bottom Boro $639,973.00 0.0488 0.0445 0.0043
*Surf City Boro $806,031.00 0.0510 0.0494 0.0016
OCEAN Pinelands Regional School District $32,460,291.00
*Bass River $1,203,934.00 0.6990 0.7065 -0.0075
*Eagleswood $1,462,306.00 0.6240 0.6185 0.0055
*Little Egg Harbor $15,250,618.00 0.6580 0.6453 0.0127
*Tuckerton $2,815,394.00 0.6910 0.6044 0.0866
OCEAN Southern Regional School District $60,631,334.00
*Beach Haven $5,409,836.00 0.2616 0.2682 -0.0066
*Barnegat Light $1,899,004.00 0.1897 0.2031 -0.0134
*Harvey Cedars $2,840,131.00 0.2286 0.2364 -0.0078
*Long Beach Township $19,072,017.00 0.2429 0.2631 -0.0202
*Ship Bottom $3,344,891.00 0.2549 0.2394 0.0155
*Surf City $4,009,971.00 0.2537 0.2653 -0.0116
*Stafford Township $9,989,063.00 0.2562 0.2420 0.0142
OCEAN Stafford Township School District $38,031,620.00 $29,755,028.00 0.7147 0.7520 -0.0373
OCEAN Tuckerton Borough School District $5,109,725.00 $3,056,550.00 0.7537 0.7367 0.0170

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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