To combat the budget cuts, Del Val has been proactively cutting down on costs in recent years. “We need to do whatever we can to keep our operating costs down, so that the kids can have as much money as they possibly can,” Wasserbach said. The school’s plan to cut back on operating costs includes the recent installment of the 1 Megawatt Solar Array, which has saved the school $50,000 per year on electricity. Similarly, the Window and Roof Replacement Projects, as well as the Insulation Project, have lowered utility costs while preventing heat loss within the building.
In addition to these projects, Del Val continues to save money through shared services. Since Wasserbach and Barna also act as Superintendent and Business Administrator for Frenchtown School, and both Del Val and Frenchtown share a technology director, facilities director, and transportation department, Del Val doesn’t have to pay full salaries and costs, as those expenses are split between the two schools. This agreement saves both schools a significant amount of money.
This shared expense allows for money that Del Val would otherwise be spending to fully fund these services to be allocated elsewhere. In return, Del Val provides school lunches for Frenchtown and Milford schools, which helps the sending districts to save money as well. The transportation department also works with other schools outside of the Del Val region and Hunterdon County, which helps to offset costs.
In terms of extra-curricular savings, some club advisors are making the decision to hold meetings during unit lunch, which is considered part of the work day. Because of this decision, teachers are opting not to take a stipend in order to keep their clubs going during the school day. In other words, staff members are giving up a portion of their time in order to provide club opportunities to the students while saving the school money to be used elsewhere. Having club meetings during lunch also enables more students to participate in activities that they otherwise would not have been able to due to other after-school commitments such as sports and jobs.
“Our ultimate goal is to keep the dollars in the classroom, meaning any sort of programming whether that is instructional or extracurricular or athletic, but the money needs to go to the kids,” Wasserbach said.