Camden board sends voters budget with 2% tax levy increase

Published Apr 13, 2018 at 4:00pm

CAMDEN — A proposed $52.22 million Camden school district general fund budget for the 2018-19 school year that includes an approximately 2 percent local property tax levy increase has been approved by the Board of Education.

The budget proposal is up by about $240,000 from the current 2017-18 budget, and is subject to district voters’ approval in the May 15 election.

The spending plan, which calls for maintaining programs and does not include layoffs, drew praise from some board members before the approval Tuesday night.

Citing conservative local tax impacts in recent years, board member Tyler Henry said the district has done a good job of trying to be sensitive to taxpayers while still providing outstanding services for students.

Board Vice President Brad Runfola said the district always tries to “keep in mind what’s best for...all our students.” He asked for the public’s support next month for the budget.

The proposed 2 percent hike in the local property tax levy is less than the 2.68 percent increase that would be allowable for the district under state tax-cap formulas, Assistant Superintendent for Business Karl Keil Jr. said after the meeting.

The district’s average tax rate would be $13.94 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, up from $13.88 per $1,000 in the current 2017-18 school year. It would increase local tax revenue for the budget by $209,769, to a new total of $10.488 million. The largest source of budget revenue is state financial aid, at more than $37 million.

The district was able to maintain programs and staff in the budget with the help of projected financial savings from the newly approved closing of Annsville Elementary School, effective June 30. Savings also are anticipated from attrition through not filling some positions vacated by retirements, and from filling some other retirement-driven vacancies with replacements at lower pay rates, Keil noted. The district also is applying about $1.33 million from its fund balance/savings to help balance the spending plan.

Declining student enrollment was among factors considered in the Annsville school closing. The district’s enrollment in pre-K to grade 12 is projected at 2,123 for September 2018. In September 2001 it was 2,937.