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Schools Pinch Pennies in New Budget

The school board gets its first glimpse of draft budgets for the three Ocean City schools.

The Ocean City School District administration introduced a draft budget Wednesday that shows only small increases in the operating budget for the three Ocean City schools: 0.5 percent for Ocean City High School and Ocean City Intermediate School and 1.5 percent for Ocean City Primary School.

The budgets for the three school buildings and all school departments were summarized for the Ocean City Board of Education, which will approve a final budget for the 2013-14 school year by the end of March. 

The budgets ($619,439 for the high school, $187,677 for the intermediate school and $125,930 for the primary school) do not include salaries and benefits, which made up about 81 percent of Ocean City's $38.7 million operating budget in 2012-13, according to Business Administrator Tom Grossi. (See attached PDF for detail of the budgets introduced Wednesday.)

The district must submit a full budget to the county by March 7, and the Ocean City Board of Education will hold a special meeting Feb. 27 to approve the budget that gets submitted. A public hearing on the final budget is scheduled for March 27.

Any school budget that falls under the 2 percent cap on the tax levy is no longer subject to voter approval. Last year's budget included no increase on the $21.6 million levy requested of Ocean City taxpayers.

Grossi said the influx of Sea Isle City students (after the neighboring island closed its grammar school) was part of the reason the primary school's budget increased greater than the other two schools. Supplies and textbooks accounted for most of the increase.

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In other business at Wednesday's school board meeting:

  • Kim Breckley and Debbie McLees were sworn in as Upper Township's sending district representatives on the Ocean City Board of Education. Jill Casaccio is the third Upper Township representative on the board. Each will serve for a year.
  • The district and Cape May County Freeholder Will Morey honored Board of Education members with a certificate of appreciation during School Board Recognition Month.
  • The district recognized all the local chefs, restaurants and businesses that contributed to the annual Ocean City Scholarship Dinner, which raised $4,500, despite a postponement in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. District employees and event organizers Mary Maguire and Joan Vicari-Fulton passed out certificates and decorative wooden spoons (crafted in the OCHS wood shop) to the contributors, including head chef Joe Massaglia of Mama Mia Ristorante.
  • Teacher Greg Wheeldon and his student executive production team showed the board a video describing the "future of the Ocean City television/media program." The film showed students at work on the "Current OC," a monthly news program that replaces the weekly "Morning Wave." The department is also partnering with the print media publication Billows to create digital content available at oc-tv.org and on Facebook. The "Current OC" can also be seen on public-access Channel 2.
MDBJ January 24, 2013 at 01:57 PM
when I read the 'budget' was 125k for the primary school.. I was confused. when I look at the PDF, I laughed.... as someone who creates a budget every year- I see 5 line items. (yes, I know salaries & benefits are specifically mentioned as excluded) what about utilities, what about capital expenditures.. is this not part of the budget for expenses? I would suggest to the lawmakers, the 2 percent cap on the tax levy should be adjusted based on enrollment as well.. both up and down.....
Mac Doc January 25, 2013 at 05:13 AM
If you keep accepting students like Sea Isle and Choice Students from other school districts and do not plan the cost in your budget, the tax payers of OC will have to flip the bill. My other concern is the State gives $ 11,500 for each choice student we accept and the cost to educate students is $ 16,500 . Do the math it does not add up. Are we the tax payers paying for this ? We need some answers. When will our school taxes go down. Why do we always have a budget at the state requirement of 2%
Frank Worrell March 31, 2013 at 02:19 PM
The Choice students add money to the schools as long as we do not have to add teachers. These students fill empty seats in classrooms without adding to the cost.This seems to help all the taxpayers in the district.

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