Thursday, May 04, 2017

GEHR Budget Cuts Jobs, Raises Taxes

MAYS LANDING — The Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District will eliminate 28 positions, some summer and after-school programs, and privatize paraprofessional jobs, to make up a $4.6 million shortfall and balance the $72.6 million 2017-18 school budget.
But the New Jersey Education Association is questioning the cuts and will fight the privatization of the aides.
The budget was presented at a hearing Monday night at Oakcrest High School. A PowerPoint presentation is also posted on the district website.

The presentation shows the district, which also includes Absegami and Cedar Creek high schools, eliminating more than 22 certified positions, eight through retirements and 14 through a reduction in force. Two administrators, two security positions and two tech personnel also will be eliminated.
The district also plans to eliminate after-school tutoring, summer school, summer weight rooms and summer security.
The district plans increased academic offerings for students, including a new computer programming magnet program and expanded offerings in the biomedical and homeland-security magnet programs.

 NJEA field representative Myron Plotkin said the union cannot understand why the district has such a big deficit and only $300,000 in surplus to carry forward. He said members oppose subcontracting the paraprofessionals because they are not as loyal or effective as local district employees. He said aides are told they can apply with the private company but are paid much less with fewer benefits.

Part of the funding shortfall was attributed to increased tuition and transportation costs, especially to the Atlantic County Institute of Technology. According to the presentation, enrollment has dropped more than 500 students since 2013-14, and 434 students are attending ACIT at a cost of more than $4.3 million.
The budget includes a 2 percent increase in the local property tax levy. Based on a property assessed at $100,000, the annual property tax increase will be $15.50 in Egg Harbor City, $14.60 in Galloway Township, $9.5 in Hamilton Township and $93.10 in Mullica Township.

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