Programs, Staff Remain Intact In Barnegat 2014-2015 Budget

Budget up 3.85 percent over last year

By Patricia A. Miller

Tax us more, keep the staff and enhance programs.

That was the general message voiced by residents who attended the Barnegat school district's strategic planning meetings earlier this year, Schools Superintendent Karen Wood said.

The Barnegat school district held three meetings on the five-year plans. More than 300 people showed up at one session, she said.

"We invited everybody," Wood said. "Senior citizens, businesses, parents, staff. It was for the community. People came to us and said ' raise my taxes, don't cut programs.' "

That said, the $49,328,800 budget will rise 3.85 percent over 2013-2014.

The school tax rate for the 2014-2015 year is roughly 46 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation. That translates into a $116 increase yearly, or $9.60 per month on a house assessed at the township average of $250,000, Wood said.

Barnegat's recent budget history had meager budget increases ranging from zero increases in some years to 1.8 percent, which was starting to affect class sizes and programs, Wood said.

"We had 11 percent of banked caps that were never used," she said.

That trend was impossible to continue, and the district had to exceed the state-imposed two percent cap this year, she said.

"We can't keep cutting," Wood said. "It's impossible."

The district is expanding its special education programs this year, which will help cut down on out-of-district tuition costs.

"The Barnegat District will also be enhancing 21st Century Learning at the middle school and reducing class size and supporting our youngest learners by adding staff at our elementary schools," Wood said.

This year, Barnegat High School was recognized as one of 477 high schools across the US and Canada who made AP Honor Roll with the College Board.

 "Only two other districts in Ocean County can claim this - Toms River and Jackson," Wood said.

The district also plans to open the Bengal Cubs Early Learning Center in September, a self-funding day care center for district employees, she said.

"The Barnegat staff deserves to have an affordable, nurturing day care option in our district," Wood said.

barnegat resident May 04, 2014 at 09:35 AM
Who's that, why weren't you there? Since you know everything, I will not remind you that technology is updated on a yearly basis. Servers, ports, software, computers, etc. I agree with driving too far.
Susan May 04, 2014 at 02:05 PM
Barnegat's taxes are the same as Long Beach Island and how is that justified. There is no comparison. Something surely is not right so what is it?
Who's That May 04, 2014 at 10:15 PM
@barnegat resident - nope, you have it all wrong, I don't claim to know everything and if you do, kudos! If you would have read the Sandpaper article, which has much more info than this Patch article, you would have seen Wood's comments, posted below: --------- “Because this testing is done online, it will require technological upgrades,” said Wood. “The state says we have to do it and we also have to pay for it.” She said the PARCC tests were given a trial run at the high school and the Russell Brackman Middle School this year. “But during the next school year, PARCC will be up running,” she said. “It is going to be a whole new system, and we have to be prepared for changes. PARCC is not just happening in New Jersey. It’s being done in many other states.” ---------- Since you may know it all, I guess you visited the PAARC website... Had you done so, you would see that the "requirements" are merely login credentials for users as well as the School system getting their established online credentials so that the users (students) can take the tests from approved (and already existing) facilities/computers, etc. (ie: VIA THE INTERNET). Oh ....wait.. Here ya go: http://www.parcconline.org/parcc-accessibility-features-and-accommodations-manual You tell me, is that expense $500k? I can assure you it's NOT. But hey.... Let the Twp. keep shoveling it... By the way - there were (36) schools from NJ that were on that AP Honor Roll. Only those schools that participate, have the ability to do so and students who score above a 3, have a higher chance OF GETTING ON THE AP Honor Roll. There were other NJ schools that have been on there more than once.... Twp and BOE - what Businesses came to you and said "RAISE MY TAXES". I will add those to my boycott list.... Maybe they misunderstood your jargon and thought you were giving them a tax credit....hahahaha... Taxes as high as LBI is right.... Explain that one. Also explain how a District Day Care is self funding - I guess it sure is when the Tax Payers are paying for it. Who else is going to pay for the expenses associated with it and how will it self fund itself?
Susan May 05, 2014 at 10:32 AM
well waste not want not is an old saying but it still applies. Honesty is a virtue too. and if everyone is doing the same thing how come Barnegat taxes are so much higher? Just saying...


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