East PTA holds meeting, discusses Bond 2018


Courtesy of Aine Pipe ('20)

The East PTA discussed a variety of topics, including fundraising and project graduation.

The Cherry Hill East PTA met Thursday in the East library at 7:30 p.m. for their monthly meeting, as well as to discuss the upcoming bond referendum on December 11.

Eleven members of the PTA were present in addition to many non-members. Superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche explained the bond referendum more thoroughly and answered questions from those in attendance. The PTA fell short of a 17-member quorum needed to take a vote on officially endorsing the bond.

During the course of the meeting, Meloche repeatedly stressed the urgency of the repairs outlined in the bond proposal, which would allow the district to borrow millions of dollars on a twenty-year payback plan in order to fund capital projects (construction and repairs).

“Almost 77 percent of our budget is in salary and benefits…the greatest resource that we have in this district are the teachers, the staff members, the staff members the counselors, the custodians and the secretaries, those adults who work with our children on a daily basis,” said Meloche. “The most important resource that we have is the human resource in our district; in fact, it’s the resource in our district through the course of the last thirty years [that we have] spent the most time focusing on.”

Meloche explained that one of the factors that necessitates the bond is that the district’s budget is capped at a fixed increase per annum. This mandate forces the Board of Education to make difficult choices as to where to allocate funds, often shortchanging capital projects. Another factor is the dearth of funding coming from the state of New Jersey into the district; the state is now hundreds of millions of dollars behind on its payments to the district.

“The state is never going to make good on that $150 million,” said Meloche.

The superintendent also outlined the various projects embedded in each question of the bond, as well as the various propositions’ impact on taxes.

When asked what would happen if the bond were to fail at the polls in December, Meloche revealed the BOE’s intention to put it back out to the voters unaltered in March.

“We believe…that these are the most important projects and the projects that will most impact the students in our school district and provide that foundation for [the district] as we move forward,” said Meloche.

The PTA quickly ran through its agenda. PTA President Stephanie Graff ran through the teacher grants (which amount to no more than $500), which were approved, including grants for scientific calculators, greenhouse renovations and classroom art. Also discussed were Zone PTAs gift card drive and Project Graduation’s gift card fundraiser.

As for the bond referendum, polls will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 11. Meloche will be speaking at Cherry Hill High School West and Sharp Elementary School in the days leading up to the event. More information on the bond and voting times and locations are located on the district website.