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New NJSIAA budget includes expected shortfall

ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. - Steve Timko knows "someday" is coming.

ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. - Steve Timko knows "someday" is coming.

It's just not here yet.

"It's not next year," Timko, the NJSIAA's executive director, said in reference to the time when the organization might have to reduce or eliminate programs, or personnel positions, or both, to balance its budget.

It might be 2012-13.

Timko unveiled the NJSIAA's 2011-12 budget on Wednesday with an anticipated deficit of around $405,000. The organization is projecting $5,432,000 in expenses and $5,027,000 in revenues.

Timko and NJSIAA business administrator Gary Zarrilli said the shortfall would be covered by the organization's surplus funds, which were $671,000 at the end of the 2010 school year. Zarrilli said the current surplus would not be known until the books are closed on the 2010-11 school year this summer.

"We're working toward getting a solution," Timko said. "We're cutting expenses like our member schools are cutting expenses. We've made a lot of cuts."

Timko said the new budget will freeze salaries for the organization's directors for the second year in a row and include several other cuts on the "operations side."

Zarrilli noted that the organization spent $147,000 less in operating winter tournaments this year than the previous year, and increased revenues from winter tournaments from $135,000 to $258,000.

Timko said the NJSIAA continues to apply for "relief" from New Jersey acting Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf in the matter of ticket prices to state tournament events.

Under a law that went into effect in January 2010, the NJSIAA can't charge more for tickets to tournament games at high school sites than schools charge for tickets to regular-season games, with some exceptions.

NJSIAA officials say the law, which was written by state assemblyman John Burzichelli (D., Gloucester/Salem) has created the organization's current financial troubles.

"This is a difficult time; ticket prices are restricted," Timko said.

Every tournament season, the NJSIAA appeals to the commissioner of education for permission to charge more for tournament events than regular-season events. The organization sometimes receives partial relief in the form of permission to charge slightly more than the $3 for adults and $2 for children and senior citizens that most schools charge for regular-season games.

Timko said that because the NJSIAA has made significant reductions in its expenses, officials are hopeful that the commissioner of education will provide expanded relief to enable the organization to cover costs.

Otherwise, Timko conceded that the organization will have to make "hard decisions" to keep its expenses in line with its revenues.

That could include cutting tournament programs.

"How this will play out two years from now, we'll have to see," Timko said. "The last thing we want to do is to impact the opportunities for student-athletes in New Jersey."

This and that. Ocean City principal Matt Jamison was installed as the NJSIAA's president for the 2011-12 school year. . . . The executive committee approved the continuation of a cooperative swimming program for Audubon and Collingswood High Schools. . . . The sites for Tuesday's baseball state semifinals between the South Jersey and Central Jersey champions: Rider (Group 1), Monmouth (Group 2), Rutgers (Groups 3), and The College of New Jersey (Group 4). Tuesday's Non-Public baseball title games will be at Rowan for South A and Overbrook High School for South B. NJSIAA director Larry White said he expects Stockton to host the South B title game in 2012.