EHT Board of Ed. approves budget - NBC40.net

EHT Board of Ed. approves budget

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EGG HARBOR TWP. -

The Egg Harbor Township Board of Education voted in favor of the school district's budget at a public hearing Tuesday night.

Board members and teachers noted the difficulty in creating this year's budget, as residents will now take on a three-cent tax increase to compensate for a growing district that has not seen an increase in state aid.

Even with the 3 (cent) increase, we're still losing programs. We're going to have pay to play for sports, we're cutting on building supply budgets," said Fernwood Avenue Principal Jim Battersby.

"We really need to start increasing our aid back to where it should be because threes no where else to go, we can't ask our property tax payers to do anymore and we shouldn't," said Board member Pete Castellano.

Earlier in the afternoon board members met with Senator Jim Whelan and Assemblymen John Amodeo and Chris Brown to further discuss ways to increase aid and revise the district's assessment from the Economic, or EDA.

"We don't have a solution in hand where we can say ok the problem is solved," said Senator Jim Whelan.

"Either in terms of EDA or state aid, but we do have some strategies to try to relive some of the pressure on the school board and try to get some dollars back into the district."

The board remained at its 2% cap on the budget increase, and officials say taxes will roughly increase by six hundred dollars and could vary based on recent and ongoing home re-assessments.

With several school programs threatened by the budget difficulties and with state aid only making up 35% of the budget compared to 60% in 2000 according to officials, board members, teachers and parents hope the state will do its part to relieve the burden on taxpayers and the students.

"The state has that ultimate responsibility for providing a throughout and efficient education," said Castellano.

"And we're going for the state to step up and help us in Egg Harbor Township."

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