In Egg Harbor Township, the Board of Education meeting was packed Tuesday night as board members reluctantly approved a $124 million dollar budget for the district, and also explained why state funding has been minimal.
""We cut 2.8 million out of the budget... I'm very frustrated. I am so aggravated with these cuts that we have to cut because you're taking away from the children and my job here is to make sure our children of egg harbor township get a thorough and deputed education and right now with everything that we're cutting, we're not giving them a good education," explained Board President, James Galvin.
Egg Harbor Township has only been granted $70,558 dollars in aid from the state for the entire year. On top of that, New Jersey has slapped the district with a $736,985 assessment from the most recent high school construction project. Board members say that is the main reason the district was given less funding.
Board members also say they were never told they would have to pay the state back for the delayed construction.
John Haines, Chairman of Finance for the board, said, "It's pretty simple - if we don't pay the state back, it'll just get subtracted from the aide so they get their money anyway."
Forced to lower the budget by 2.8 million dollars, the district has raised tax rates by 3- cents and now must cut after school busing, expensive roofing projects, and middle school sports programs.
Concerned residents expressed their frustration with the budget cuts and how they feel their district has been shafted. "We're cut, we're cut, we're cut and we're one of the best financial school districts in the area and we still get penalized," said concerned resident, Justin Riggs. "You're for the budget or against. The budget has to be about the students and I think that's why the teachers, who were mainly the people here, really felt tonight."
There will be another public meeting on March 26th, where the board will introduce the budget again - as approved by the county.
The board is encouraging community members to come together and lobby the governor's office to address the school funding issue in Egg Harbor Township.