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6a00d8341bf7d953ef019aff4496f2970b-320wiby William E. Cleary Sr.

GLOUCESTER CITY NJ April 30, 2015 ( $46,629,042 Gloucester City School

District budget was made public today via a newspaper advertisement. Because of cutbacks the new spending plan is $1,050,049 less than last year’s number of $47,679,091. The estimated enrollment for the upcoming fiscal year is 1,798 students or 41 more than last year’s number of 1,757.

 Faced with a $3.5 million budget gap School Superintendent Joseph Rafferty announced last week that certain positions will be terminated effective June 30, 2015.  Rafferty said the district has experienced significant underfunding in state aid for the  2015-2016 school year. According to Rafferty, the district is not able to sustain the programs and staffing as it is for the current school year. One of the programs eliminated was courtesy busing of students which cost taxpayers $202,000.  Along with the programs, a number of positions, mostly connected to the Highland Park Alternative School, were also abolished. 

 The full list of layoffs can be found here.

 The public hearing on the budget is Thursday, May 7, at 7pm in the high school media room. 

  The layoffs and cutbacks are not new for the Gloucester City School District. A quick search of the CNBNews website produced a story about the problem in 2010 and in 2007. 

The School Superintendent in 2010 was Paul Spaventa. In March of that year, Spaventa announced a cutback of $2.2 million from the original budget of $38.8 million. Eight employees were lost due to retirement, resignation or a non-renewed contract. Spaventa noted that while eight people were cut, no positions were lost as existing employees were shifted to fill the vacancies. 

Looking back to 2007, the school district was faced with a $7.2 million shortfall in state aid. The district at that time announced it was going to lay off 17 percent of its workforce and eliminate key programs.  City School Superintendent  Mary Stansky, according to the Courier Post, said the reduction in aid will force layoffs of about 45 teachers and guidance counselors as well as 25 aides, custodians, security and support personnel. 

 The district will also eliminate summer school, a counseling program for student and families, all field trips and assemblies, building repairs, and textbooks purchases, Stansky said. 

That year the budget totaled $38. 3 million or approximately $8 million less than this year’s figure of $46.6 million. 

Although the state is funding the construction of the new $87 million middle school some board members are concerned about the cost for maintaining that building. Board member William Johnson Jr., said recently, “We have been told several times by Facilities Director John Kenney to expect it to cost approximately $500,000 annually to maintain it. We have such a large deficit now how will we pay an additional $500,000 in the future? ”

 The groundbreaking ceremony for the new school is scheduled for Monday, May 4th at 10:30am. The cost of the new middle school is approximately $87 million. 

When Gloucester City applied to the state in the early 1990’s to become a Abbott District it basically gave up control of its school system to the state. Since the district depends so much on state funding local taxpayers will continue to have to deal with budget cutbacks every fiscal year. 


Gloucester City school taxes have increased each year for the last five years according to data released by the Gloucester City Tax Office. 


The school tax for the preceding 5 years:  


  • 2014   Rate = $1.130 per $100.  Total dollars raised $3,998,954.00. Increase = $  25,608.        


  • 2013   Rate = $1.123 per $100.  Total dollars raised $3,973,346.00. Increase = $  71,817.50  


  • 2012   Rate = $1.098 per $100.  Total dollars raised $3,901,528.50. Increase = $  38,330          


  • 2011   Rate = $1.083 per $100.  Total dollars raised $3,863,198.50. Increase = $101,892.46            


  • 2010   Rate = $1.052 per $100.  Total dollars raised $3,761,306.04. Increase = $261,615.72 


The 2015 tax rates have not been determined yet. This usually is done by the County  Board of  Taxation in June or July of each year.

The most recent data released by the State Department of Education reveals the average spending per student in New Jersey school districts was $19,000 in 2013-14, up slightly from the year before.

The same report discloses the cost of educating a student in Gloucester City Public Schools was $23,680 and increase of $500 over the previous fiscal year. In comparison Haddonfield taxpayers paid $14,906 per student, Collingswood  taxpayers paid $19,041 per student, Audubon paid $18,166 per student, Camden City $26,998.

How much does Pennsylvania spend on public schools? 

A Newsworks report reveals in 2012, Pennsylvania spent $26.5 billion on K-12 education. Only five other states — California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey— spent more.

 On a per-student basis, Pennsylvania ranked 13th among the states. In 2012, Pennsylvania spent $13,653 per student compared to a national average of $11,735. Vermont came out on top with $18,882 per student and Utah ranked last with $6,688 per student.



At the same time the school district was making cutbacks the mayor and council of Gloucester City last week were announcing that taxes for the upcoming year would increase by $82.26 on the average home assessed at a value of $107,000. The budget totals $18,180,000.

According to data released by the Gloucester City Tax Office today, local taxes have increased each year over the last five. The difference in 2015 is because of a property re-assessment. 

The tax rates are:
     2015 (Estimated)  Library Share = $.032;  City Share = $1.966;  Total = $1.998
     2014                        Library Share =  .052;   City Share =   2.803;  Total =   2.855
     2013                        Library Share =  .050;   City Share =   2.777;  Total =   2.827
     2012                        Library Share =  .057;   City Share =   2.720;  Total =   2.777
     2011                        Library Share =  .063;   City Share =   2.715;  Total =   2.778

The budgets are:
    2015                        Total Budget = $18,180,000;  Local Tax Amount = $10,458,000
    2014                        Total Budget =   17,817,000;  Local Tax Amount =   10,106,000
    2013                        Total Budget =   17,289,000;  Local Tax Amount =   10,010,000
    2012                        Total Budget =   17,166,000;  Local Tax Amount =     9,874,000
    2011                        Total Budget =   17,840,000:  Local Tax Amount =     9,920,000


 Brooklawn mayor and council on April 20 adopted a $1,984,410 budget for upcoming fiscal year that will increase taxes by 3.5 cents or $47.50 more on the average house assessed at $137,000.