Lenape Regional High School District BOE Adopts 2019/2020 Budget
Maintains Regular and Special Education Programs and Staff
On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, the Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) Board of Education adopted a $161.6 million dollar budget for the 2019/2020 school year, a 1.65 percent decrease from the current school year, which amounts to a $2.7 million dollar decrease.
During the budget presentation, LRHSD Board of Education member David Stow, emphasized the board’s commitment to fiscal responsibility to the communities served by the district. According to the New Jersey Department of Education’s Taxpayers’ Guide to Education, LRHSD is ranked, among like districts, first and second in the state for least number of administrators per faculty member and per student, respectively. And, LRHSD spends well below the state mandated regional limit on administrative costs per pupil. Stow also announced the board, upon the administration’s recommendation, will not be filling the retirements of a district secretary and an attendance clerk.
State aid to the LRHSD represents a 3.39 percent decrease, totaling a little over $27 million for the 2019/2020 school year. This reduction is due to the implementation of S-2, which will result in the total state aid reduction over seven (7) years of over $8.3 million loss in aid.
LRHSD had several one-time budget reductions that assisted to balance the budget without affecting programs this year.
The proposed budget adds no new regular or special education programs or positions. However, there is an increase of 103 special education students for the 2019/2020 school year.
“Although LRHSD is faced with minimal funding from the State of NJ, $3,980 per pupil, we continue to excel as one of the top regional school districts in the state with overwhelming support from our communities,” said Stow.
Board of Education President Cookie Estlow echoed Stow’s gratitude to the communities for their generous support.
“The students benefit from the generosity of the residents and businesses in the communities we serve,” said Estlow. “We are thankful to everyone who has given generously, donating time and talent as well as nearly $152,356 this school year alone,” she added.
“Accepting financial support from our community has helped make it possible for us to bridge the gap to improve athletic facilities, purchase new equipment and support innovative programs to benefit our students,” said Superintendent of Schools, Carol Birnbohm, Ed.D. According to Birnbohm, since 1994/1995, state aid to the LRHSD has continued to comprise a lower percentage of the annual budget, declining from nearly 40 percent to just 17.7 percent of next year’s proposed budget. We are anticipating that percent to decline further with S-2 to down to 13.5 percent placing additional burden on our tax payers in the years ahead.
As one of the highest achieving districts in the state, innovation, creativity and achievement are integral to the LRHSD’s success. With an average graduation rate of 96.0 percent among its four high schools, nearly 90.9 percent of the class of 2018 continued their education at more than 280 different four-year and two-year colleges and universities.
According to Birnbohm, LRHSD students’ academic success tells only part of the story. “Our staff and students are regional, state and national award winners and champions,” said Birnbohm. “They’ve won awards for Special Education programs, Marching Band, Business, Fine Arts, Robotics, Community Service and JROTC, not to mention athletics. “
Highlights of awards and accolades in this school year alone include: Lenape/Cherokee STORM Robotics Team – about 40 students – is currently competing at the world championships in Detroit; Lenape and Seneca high schools have each been recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School this year for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW Engineering (just 133 high schools across the U.S. have received this honor); three LRHSD seniors this year are National Merit Finalists (the LRHSD has a history of having multiple National Merit Finalists).
Budget information, including tax impacts for each sending district is posted on the 2019/2020 Budget Information page. For more information, contact Business Administrator, Connie Stewart at 609-268-2000, ext. 5536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.