School Board Approves Budget With No Tax Increase

School Board Approves Budget With No Tax Increase

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School Business Administrator Tim Kelley details the budget for the upcoming year at the Board of Education meeting. (Photo courtesy of Martin Fiedler, Just Right TV Productions)

By MADDY VITALE

The Ocean City Board of Education adopted a 2021-22 school budget Wednesday night that provides all of the services, programs and materials students, families and faculty are accustomed to in the district with no increase in taxes, officials said.

School Business Administrator Tim Kelley gave a presentation at the meeting saying, “This budget continues to support extracurricular activities such as arts, sports and clubs and activities throughout the district.”

He added, “We are continuing to improve and continue to share our success with other districts. We will see no increase in the overall taxes paid, while we continue to provide quality education.”

The total budget for the 2021-22 school year is $42.5 million, up from $41.6 million for the 2020-21 school year. Funding for the spending plan will primarily come from $23.6 million in local tax revenue.

An owner of a home assessed at $500,000 will pay $1,075 in local school taxes for the year, the same as last year.

Expanded programs and new studies will be part of the new budget.

Back on March 17 when the budget was introduced, Kelley explained that the primary reason the district could offer the same services without increasing taxes was due to an increase in the valuation of properties in Ocean City.

The total assessed valuation for Ocean City property increased from $11.9 billion in 2020-21 to $12.1 billion for 2021-22.

The district saw a decline in tuition for enrollment by sending districts from $11.1 million to $11 million.

Kelley said of the entire budget, which was unanimously approved by the board Wednesday, “It was a long road to get here. We started back in the fall with our initial presentations. We introduced the budget and we saw approval of the budget from the county office.”

He noted the budget will include some new and current classes and programs.

“As far as the overall budget, some points that we want to make sure to get across is it continues a number of programs we have,” he said.

He noted that the partnership between the district and Atlantic Cape Community College, which allows students to obtain college credits while still in high school, will continue.

And online courses will still be offered for some high school courses in the upcoming school year.

Kelley added that there will also be some new studies offered.

“We are looking to offer African-American studies and expand the TV media program offerings,” he said.

At the end of Kelley’s presentation, Board of Education member Jacqueline McAlister asked about state aid.

“Mr. Kelley, in any of your county and state meetings, are there any rumblings on state aid?” McAlister said.

He replied, “I haven’t heard of any rumblings. If that were to occur, we do have grant funds we can supplement if there is decreased state aid. We did experience decreased aid last year of $85,000 and we were able to appropriate surplus to cover it.”