Shore schools look at budget options

JERSEY SHORE – Despite approving a proposed final budget that included a tax increase past the Act 1 Index, the Jersey Shore Area School Board did so in order to keep all options open until it approves a final budget on June 24. The board insisted the increase was not final.

Like he said in a previous meeting, Superintendent Richard Emery explained that the tax increase in the proposed final budget was made so the board can continue to look at three options: raising taxes past the Act 1 Index; raising to the Act 1 Index and making about $250,000 in cuts to programs; or closing a school and making about $60,000 in additional cuts.

“That is not final,” Emery said of the increase.

Emery said if the district is forced to cut $250,000, it would do so either by limiting and cutting programs and athletics, or by increasing class sizes.

“The last thing we want to do is cut programs, period,” Emery said.

The additional $60,000 in cuts that would be needed if a school was closed would come from a variety of places, Emery said after the meeting.

The only school eligible to be closed is Nippenose Valley Elementary School, as it was the lone school discussed at a public hearing earlier this year.