by Robert Holt
WOOLWICH TWP. — At the Woolwich Township Committee meeting on Nov. 21, Committeeman John Carleton reemphasized the need for redistribution of New Jersey school aid. Carleton pointed out that state funding received by the Kingsway Regional School District has not reflected the growth in the community.
According to the Committeeman, a Committee liaison for the School, statistics showed that Kingsway’s enrollment was 2,968 students on Sept. 7 2016, an increase of 5.1 percent since June 30, 2015. Meanwhile, the population of the East Greenwich, South Harrison, Swedesboro and Woolwich areas has increased by 49 percent since 2006.
Carleton notes that New Jersey has shifted the burden to the taxpayers, saying that state aid per pupil has fallen from $5,280 per student in 2001 to $3,770 for the current school year. But school taxes have risen from $3,549 in 2001 to $8,660 for 2016, an increase of 142 percent.
A nearly $4 million referendum for improvements to Kingsway athletic facilities was defeated for the second time in 2016 in November.
No word has yet come down from Trenton regarding the school’s budget issues, Carleton reported. He said that Kingsway’s budget deficit for 2018 could be crippling without significant state aid.
According to the New Jersey Department of Education, the Kingsway District’s budget falls $8.38 million below adequacy levels.
Elsewhere in his report, Carleton reminded the Committee that the Christmas Parade would be starting at the Stratton School at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3. There would also be a tree lighting. Fireworks, scheduled for approximately 8:30 p.m., are being fully sponsored by Atlantic City Electric, he added.
In finance, Deputy Mayor Frank Rizzi reported that budget requests for 2017 have already been sent out. In his police report, Mayor Alan Schwager mentioned that Patrolmen Shane Stranahan and Anthony Boatwright had been promoted to full-time officers.
The mayor also listed 23 zoning permits for Woolwich in October, down by five over a comparable period in 2015.
In resolutions, the Committee approved the township’s 2015 audit, and authorized the proposal of James Farro for a High Hill Park restroom project.
Earlier in the meeting, JIF Risk Management Consultant Tom Narolewski gave the Committee a presentation regarding safety issues. Narolewski credited Woolwich Safety Coordinator Anthony Bertino for his work in organizing the township’s programs.
In new business, the Committee accepted a Crown Pipeline quote of $32,500 for work on 132 Holly Drive, where storm drain issues was causing flooding. The quote affects the storm drain coming in from behind the property, according to Rizzi. Schwager added that a willow tree was believed to be in the easement. The $32,500 figure includes removal of the tree, and involves 80 feet of pipe in fixing the storm drain, Rizzi noted.