Board Votes Unanimously on Budget
Collingswood BOE Meeting Highlights
School Board Votes Unanimously on 2023-2024 Budget
At the public budget presentation on May 8, 2023, the Collingswood Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the proposed budget for the 2023 - 2024 school year. An overview of the budget was presented by Dr. Fred McDowell, superintendent and Beth Ann Coleman, assistant superintendent for business and operations.
District leaders, principals, the Board of Education and Collingswood Education Association leaders worked diligently and collaboratively for months to develop a budget which is fiscally responsible and without significant program changes. Despite the financial challenge we were tasked with, we now are presented with an opportunity to innovate and evolve.
The District will spend nearly 63% of the thirty-nine million dollar general fund budget (which equates to approximately twenty-five million dollars) on instruction which includes faculty/staff salaries, benefits, student activities, athletics, special education, supplies. Another 16% (which equates to approximately six million dollars) will be spent on student services which includes transportation, counselors, nurses, child study team salaries, occupational therapists, physical therapists, security, benefits and supplies. Expenses related to facilities and maintenance compose slightly more than five million dollars or nearly 13% of the budget and the remaining three million dollars of the budget is allocated to administrative costs including administrator/office personnel salaries, benefits and supplies.
It’s important for the community to be informed about our budget. Of our thirty-nine million dollars in revenue, only 28% comes from state aid. Nearly half of our revenue is derived from the local tax levy and another fourteen percent from tuition. For years, we have generated additional revenue through shared service agreements, rentals, interest and other sources to maintain the educational experience Collingswood families have come to expect. We will continue to keep all revenue generating strategies on the table in the future as we work with decreasing state aid.
The District remains focused on accelerated learning that meets the needs of every learner through the lens of equity. There is an allocation in the budget for learning acceleration specialists who are responsible for providing small group instruction and classroom interventions. To meet the specific needs of every student, an investment will also be made in data team support staff who will be responsible for analyzing individual student data to ensure and customize support based on their progress. The budget also includes regionally-competitive pay increases for all employees, including instructional assistants who are employees of our contracted service provider.
Nearly all programs will remain intact for the new school year with two exceptions. After years of declining enrollment and a recent retirement, the foods program at Collingswood High School will no longer be offered. In addition, incoming freshman athletes will have the opportunity to try out for junior varsity and varsity teams as opposed to having a dedicated freshman team. The District was able to close the budget gap by reducing expenses for services, supplies and technology and by increasing the revenue through grants.
“This has been a challenging budget cycle for our school district. The Board is proud of the collaboration on the part of the district team, principals, and association leaders that helped us get to a balanced budget that prioritizes our students and staff,” stated Ms. Regan Kaiden, Collingswood Board of Education President.