The borough school board is scheduled to meet tonight to consider approval of its 2013-14 budget. The meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library at 401 Kings Highway East.
A school tax increase is likely to be approved despite a nearly 4-percent increase in state aid announced on Thursday. School district officials projected a $450,259 deficit if state aid remained flat. Haddonfield will receive $878,476 in aid, up from $846,128 last year. That still leaves $417,911 that would not be covered without raising the tax levy from this year's amount.
School Superintendent Richard Perry said he wants an additional $160,000 on top of the $417,911. He said the additional amount is to fund a new state-mandated teacher evaluation program and state-mandated core curriculum requirements, and new security procedures in light of the school shooting in Connecticut.
The total amount would mean a 1.98 percent increase in the tax levy. Any increase under 2 percent does not require a referendum vote, after a change in state law last year.
A 2 percent increase will mean a family with a home valued at the borough average of $491,000 will pay an additional $140 in school taxes annually. The typical family pays about $7,000 annually in school taxes now.
School officials said they want to keep programs and staffing at current levels and not reduce them to balance the budget. Coming up with more than $400,000 would mean cuts in technology, capital, personnel, districtwide supplies and extracurricular activities, Perry said.
Perry and the school board cited increases in teacher and administration salaries, text book and extracurricular costs for the deficit. But the biggest driver of increased costs was a 24 percent spike in the cost of special education.