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Sunday, April 21, 2024


Dennis Schools to Ask Voters to Add $1.9M to New Budget

The leadership of the Dennis Township Education Association gave a slideshow presentation showing how crowded classrooms would be if teachers are cut in the 2023-2024 school year.   
Christopher South
In a photo from the budget hearing in 2023, a slide show illustrated the need for more school funding under a special question in the general election. The question failed.

By Christopher South

SOUTH DENNIS – The Dennis Township School District will be asking voters to approve adding $1.9 million to the 2024-25 school budget after they rejected a request last year to add $1.3 million.

The school district, in its presentation of the new budget last month, listed several steps it might take to trim expenses if voters reject the request, including not paying for any clubs or sports from the general fund and eliminating courtesy busing.

The administration has projected the 2024-2025 school year budget to be $16,530,000. The state-permitted budget, which includes a 2% spending increase, would be $14,598,000, leaving a shortfall of $1,932,000.

The district’s budget includes use of all available fund balances and the maintenance reserve. The projections note the potential of using an emergency reserve of $60,000 as well.

The new budget is scheduled for a public hearing and adoption on Tuesday, March 19.

Dennis School District Business Administrator Teri Weeks said voters would be asked to cover the shortfall through a special question on the general election ballot in November or through a bond referendum.

The budget projection for 2024-2025 includes ways to cut costs, including not paying for any clubs or sports from the general fund, for a savings of $105,000. The district would also consider eliminating courtesy busing, saving $100,000, trimming administrative shared services, $100,000, eliminating one security guard, $68,310, and converting all full-time instructional aides to part time, $140,000.

Last year’s Dennis Township schools tax rate was $1.243 out of a total $1.808 tax rate, meaning schools accounted for 68.75% of the rate.

“I can tell you, for every $100,000 raised in the levy, the increase in the rate is approximately $0.01 or $10.20 per every $100,000 of assessed value based on the 2023 ratables base,” Weeks said. “I have not seen the 2024 ratables, which will change these numbers.”

Last spring the Board of Education approved a budget asking for $16,996,616, which was roughly $1.085 million above the budget cap. In the fall, by a vote of 958 to 717, voters rejected a special question that would have added approximately $1.3 million to the tax levy, saving jobs and programs and keeping classrooms at a smaller size. Some private donations helped fund certain sports programs for another year, including baseball, softball and field hockey.

The Dennis Township School District has two public schools, the primary school for grades pre-K to 2 and the elementary/middle school for grades 3 through 8. There are a combined 617 students.

According to, the school district ranks at the state level for proficiency in math at 26%, and below the state average of 47% in reading proficiency, with a testing ranking of 41%. (Dennis Township School District (2024) – Cape May Court House, NJ (

Thoughts? Questions? Call Christopher South at 609-886-8600 x128 or email


Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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