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Middletown Transcript
  • Appoquinimink referendum will address $4 million budget cuts

  • Residents living in the Appoquinimink School District will be voting on a referendum in February to address the more than $4 million in state funds cut from its operating budget.
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  • Residents living in the Appoquinimink School District will be voting on a referendum in February to address the more than $4 million in state funds cut from its operating budget.
    The exact tax increase proposed in the Operating Referendum will be announced Nov. 13.
    The largest cut suffered by the district was the $470,000 reduction in state funds for student transportation.
    Since 2008, Appoquinimink per pupil discretionary state funding has decreased by 10 percent while enrollment has increased by 17 percent, Superintendent Matt Burrows told teachers and parents Nov. 5 at an informational meeting.
    The state had to make some significant cutbacks because of the recession, including in education, he said.
    The most important thing, Burrows said, is the restoration of operating funds and reserves to protect the learning environment.
    "We offer a great product for our students," he said. He wants to continue to offer the same product, but the school cannot afford to do so with the shortfall.
    Budget tightening measures presented by Burrows include deferring textbook purchases, locally funded staff reductions, job consolidations of the Early Childhood Center and Elementary School principals, safety deferrals, eliminating mileage reimbursements and cell phones, and reductions in print and copy expenses.
    With 86 percent of the district's budget dedicated to salaries and benefits, any future cuts would require a reduction in staff and an increase in classroom sizes, Burrows said.
    Administrators' pay will also be frozen as a cost saving measure.
    The district's student population is projected to keep growing while its local operating fund carryover is set to drop drastically by 2013.
    There has not been an increase in taxes for the district's operating budget since 2006 and the School Board has approved the need for an operating referendum.
    The 2009 referendum, which was used to build the two new schools, did not require the district to raise taxes and was used for construction and not operating costs.
    Feedback from parents and teachers was solicited during an informational meeting Nov. 7 and on Nov. 13, the Board will approve the referendum items.
    The Operating Referendum is set to be voted on Feb. 28.

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