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‘School Choice’ Pumps $2.6 Million Into Ocean City School Budget

first_imgNew Jersey’s new “School Choice” program continues to sustain the Ocean City School District at a time of declining enrollment.The state announced its aid figures on Thursday and the district will receive $2,620,050 in School Choice aid alone.The program, now in its third year, allows out-of-district students to apply to attend Ocean City schools — with the state paying Ocean City $13,825 for each student. It has allowed the district to compensate for a shrinking school population and sustain programs without increasing taxes.The number of “Choice” students in Ocean City will increase from 166 to 194.The state had approved a five-percent increase for School Choice districts and Ocean City also received a waiver to enroll siblings of students already accepted into the program.The extra students represent a $387,100 increase in School Choice aid for the district.School Business Administrator Pat Yacovelli said Friday that it’s still premature to say how the new aid will be applied in a draft budget currently under review by the school administration and Board of Education. A public hearing on the proposed school budget will be held between April 24 and May 7, and the final budget must be adopted by May 14.Total enrollment in the Ocean City School District fell from 2,248 in 2000 to 2,045 in 2010. The trend has been offset only by the addition of out-of-district students under the new program.The remainder of Ocean City’s state aid allocation increased by only $27,480. Total aid, including School Choice, amounts to about $3.8 million.“The Ocean City School District wishes to thank the members of the state legislature for the funding they are providing us,” Ocean City School Superintendent Kathleen Taylor said in a statement released Friday. “As superintendent of the school district, it is my job to work with the School Board to make sure that we are good stewards of the resources provided us by the Department of Education. Our School Board has a history of fiscal responsibility and I feel this increase in funding is a vote of confidence from the Department of Education in our school district. The increase in funding will help us accomplish our three main goals: enhance the education of our students, provide opportunities for us to meet our Strategic Plan goals, and maintain our facilities so that they meet the latest educational standards. Every dollar of state funding is an investment in the future of our children and the School Board and administration will do our best to make sure that this funding is spent wisely.”last_img

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