Lenape Regional High School District BOE Adopts 2016/2017 Budget
Special Education Staff Added; Maintains Programs and Staff
On Wednesday, April 27, 2016, the Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) Board of Education adopted a $156.6 million budget for the 2016/2017 school year, an increase of $2,578,152 (1.67 percent) more than the current school year.
State aid increased $67,820 for the 2016-2017 school year. However, over the past twenty years, state support of the LRHSD has decreased from nearly 40 percent of budget in 1994/1995 to just 19.7 percent of the proposed 2016/2017 budget.
“We’re grateful for the small increase in state funding for our district, but as expenses increase, it remains a challenge to meet the educational needs of all of our students within a manageable budget,” said Birnbohm. “Year after year, thanks to teamwork on the part the administration, Board of Education, and staff and with the support of the families and communities we serve, the Lenape Regional District continues to rise to the challenge,” she added.
The proposed total regional school tax levy for 2016/2017 is $116,114,939, an increase of 1.53 percent. Over the last nine years, tax levy increases averaged 1.92%, well under the 2% tax levy cap. Regional school taxes will increase in six of the eight sending communities including Evesham, Medford, Shamong, Southampton, Tabernacle and Woodland; regional school taxes will decrease in Medford Lakes and Tabernacle:
“Since the 2010/2011 school year, the district’s administrators, teachers and support staff have contributed to their health benefits,” said Birnbohm. “Those contributions have offset some of the increases; however public school districts experience increases in healthcare costs similar to those that affect private organizations and businesses.”
Among the highest achieving districts in the state, the average graduation rate among Lenape Regional High School District’s four schools continues to climb, reaching 95.5 percent for the Class of 2015, with 92.6 percent of graduates continuing their education in more than 286 four-year and two-year colleges and universities.
According to Birnbohm, the district continues to offer students every opportunity to get the most out of their high school experience including earning college credits through the Rowan College at Burlington County College CAP (College Acceleration Program), which continues to expand, with 1,245 students participating in the program in 2015/2016.
“Our students will earn nearly 8,500 college credits this year alone,” said Birnbohm. “This program, offered at no additional cost to the district or taxpayers, gives students a jump on continuing education and, equally important, helps offset college costs for students and their families.”
Other LRHSD cost savings initiatives ranging from shared services agreements with the sending districts to per pupil administrative costs that are significantly lower than other regional districts. This school year, the average per student administrative cost of $1,506 is $476 below the state-mandated regional limit of $1,982 per student.
The LRHSD also benefits from fundraising efforts and generous donations from a range of community and alumni groups. In addition, the district receives corporate and foundation grant funding, which recently included grants from Lockheed Martin in the amount of $31,200 for two school years. The grants are funding the incorporation of a comprehensive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program - Project Lead the Way (PLTW) - into the current course of study.
“This year, individual and community group donations reached a total of $2.55 million contributed to the district since the 2007/2008 school year,” said Birnbohm. “Our parents, alumni and community members are active in the district and integral to our students’ success. Their financial support complements their involvement, making it possible for us to provide our students and the community with improved athletic facilities, new equipment, and life-changing experiences.”
For more information, contact Business Administrator, James Hager at 609-268-2000, ext. 5536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.