Middletown among school districts seeking more cash

Parents, teachers and students in Middletown are among the New Jersey hopefuls asking voters to approve higher taxes for education.

The Middletown Township School District hopes to hire two additional reading and writing specialists at the elementary level. The move would provide enough specialists for each of the district's elementary schools. Those specialists work hand-in-hand with teachers to improve classroom skills.

"We're able to actually sit with teachers, go into classrooms, do model lessons and actually collaborate with teachers," says Colleen Gray, a specialist at Ocean Avenue Elementary.

The district is also hoping to add two new world language teachers and a special education instructor to its personnel. The current budget proposal is also seeking funds for clubs at the middle and high school levels.

Middletown is asking to increase the budget to $88 million, which would help maintain all current programs and positions in the district with those additions. They say the budget would likely necessitate a tax increase of about $135 per year for the average homeowner in the area.

Four of Middletown's past five budgets have passed. Taxpayers are torn, saying the programs are good in theory but that taxes are already high.

The budget is up for approval April 15.

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