Bordentown Regional School District faces state aid cuts

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The Bordentown Regional School District is facing a number of reductions in staff positions and programs due to a possible state aid reduction of $1.61 million, according to a district presentation of the 2024-25 tentative budget.

The state aid numbers were announced on Feb. 29. The Bordentown Regional School District Board of Education approved the proposed $52.73 million budget at a meeting on March 20.

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Chifonda Henry, school business administrator, presented the tentative budget before the board.

Student enrollment from 2023 to 2024 decreased by four students from 2,201 to 2,197. The special education population increased from 515 students in the 2022-23 school year to 552 students in the 2023-24 school year.

Full day kindergarten will remain in place; however, the district is looking at reductions in academic programming at Bordentown Regional High School; the elimination of extracurricular offerings, sports, and clubs at Bordentown Regional Middle school funded by the board of education; and the elimination of Grade 7 Environmental Education Program.

For fiscal year 2025, the district is looking at a number of reductions.

  • Two administrative positions – elementary assistant principal and K-12 supervisor of humanities and the arts;
  • Two facilities positions (custodial, maintenance/grounds);
  • One desktop technician (technology support);
  • One school nurse (one nurse will be shared between Clara Barton Elementary School and MacFarland Intermediate school);
  • One elementary school counselor;
  • Two special education service providers;
  • One preschool teaching positions
  • Fourteen elementary teaching positions – class size will increase; and
  • Five secondary positions – class size will increase in electives.

Elementary Loss of Academic Programming

  • Elementary Spanish taught by a teacher of Spanish – move to online instruction;
  • Loss of Grades 4 and 5 instrumental music; and
  • Basic skills instruction reduced at both campuses.

Secondary Loss of Programming

  • World Language – French;
  • Elective selections will be reduced in business and core areas (social studies, science, English; and
  • Electives that remain will have larger classes due to the loss of staff/elective offerings.

To support the school district budget, residential and commercial property owners in the township are projected to pay a tax levy of $36.34 million in 2024-25.

The levy is an increase from the previous school year budget levy of $35.85 million, which means property owners would pay $495,765 in additional school property taxes to support the district.

On April 4, supplemental K-12 funding was awarded to the district for the 2023-24 school year in the amount of $427,888, a 66% restoration of the initial 2024 reduction.

The district is not optimistic that supplemental aide will be awarded for the 2024-25 school year.

The district expects to spend $14.17 million in general instruction, a 3% increase from last year; $10.47 million in special education instruction, a 24% increase; $846,662 in co-curricular and athletics, an 11% decrease; $8.89 million in district operation, a 10% decrease; $2.42 million in student transportation, a 14% increase; $10.39 million in benefits, a 4% decrease and $1.67 million capital outlay, a 29% decrease.

The estimated school tax rate per $100 of assessed valuation is 2.0589 for Bordentown Township with a 79.14 percentage share; 1.9090 for Bordentown City with a 18.13 percentage share and 1.8381 for Fieldsboro with a 2.72 percentage share.

The amount an individual pays in property taxes is determined by the assessed value of his home and/or property, and the tax rate that is set by each taxing entity.

School taxes are one item on a property owner’s total tax bill, which also includes municipal taxes and Burlington County taxes.

Multiple capital improvements are proposed for the 2024-25 school year. Capital improvements are not funded by the general fund. There is a separate Capital Reserve Fund that is used to support the Long Range Facilities Plan.

Peter Muschal Elementary School: Bathroom additions to three classrooms; one of these bathrooms is between two classrooms for an overall improvement to four classrooms.

These additions, plus the movement of three expansion sections of preschool to Clara Barton Elementary will position district for additional rooms available for preschool expansion.

MacFarland Intermediate School: New playground surface and new playground equipment and refurbishment of the ground floor classrooms and waterproofing of the foundation at the front of the building.

Clara Barton Elementary School: New playground to support preschool.

Bordentown Regional High School: Bleacher infrastructure will be added on the first base side of the baseball field. This project is partially grant funded.

The public hearing and final adoption of the 2024-25 budget is scheduled for May 1.

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