EHT residents rally to discuss school budget with Sen. Whelan -

EHT residents rally to discuss school budget with Sen. Whelan

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 Concerned members of the Egg Harbor Township community rallied outside of Senator Jim Whelan's office Saturday morning seeking a change to the recent school budget adjustment.

"We're just trying to bring awareness to Trenton that we didn't receive the state aid we should have received and we haven't caught up from years past, we're about 29 million in the hole," said district parent Amber Umphlett.

The rally hopes to bring what the district calls unfair Economic Development Authority assessments and a lack of state aid to the attention of the Senator Whelan.

"We're trying to work in a bipartisan fashion and lets see who else is out there on a statewide basis. If we can't do it on the cap, if there are other ways to do it, we're open to those suggestions as well," said Senator Whelan.

As part of a state mandated growth, the district has grown by 2000 students.

But at a Board of Education meeting last week the district received just over $70,000 in state aid as well as a $736,000 assessment.

"You guys are victims of your own success," said Senator Whelan.

 "You have a great school district and great township and families want to move in there and as a result you had all this growth which creates a strain on the budget."

"There's definitely something wrong with the system," said Board of Education member Jack Haines.

"Something is wrong with the formula. It doesn't make sense how a district that grows can get what they get and districts that are declining seem to get more. It just doesn't make any sense."

Because the district's growth occurred before a certain cutoff date, the aid money may be a reach but the Senator is confident progress can be made on the EDA cap.

"The cap on the EDA money, I think we got a real shot at that," said Senator Whelan.

 "I think the other issue of restoring state aid on what you should have gotten from over five years ago, that's going to be tough, I'm not going to lie to you."

EHT residents said they were appreciative of the Senator's assistance and plan to hold a rally at the office of Assemblymen Amodeo and Brown next week.

The Board of Ed will hold another public meeting March 26th.

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