Update June 30, 2017
Budget Stand-off The Senate and Assembly did not vote on the budget, as originally planned, on June 29. The two houses are meeting today, June 30, to consider the appropriations act. At issue in the legislature is not the budget bill itself, but rather a proposal to restructure Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer. The governor has made that legislation key to his agreement to sign the appropriations act with the increased expenditures, including school aid, added by the legislature.
On June 29, the governor instructed his cabinet to prepare for a government shut-down of all but essential services if a new budget is not in place by tomorrow.
This article was also updated on June 30 to include a link to district-by-district state aid data.
TRENTON, June 27, 2017–The state Senate and Assembly budget committees yesterday released an appropriations act with adjusted state aid numbers, the result of negotiation among the legislative leadership and Governor Christie.
The latest compromise would provide $100 million in new aid to districts deemed chronically underfunded. Unlike the previous compromise plan, announced on June 14, the new proposal would allocate additional funding for extraordinary special education costs. It would also reduce the total cuts in adjustment (hold harmless) aid for districts considered to be over-funded, from $46 million to $31 million. In addition, the N.J. Commissioner of Education would be authorized to provide loans to districts that experience fiscal distress as a result of these reductions. Terms of repayment would be at the discretion of the commissioner.
2017-2018 State Aid Compromise
|June 26 Plan|
Proposed Appropriations Act
|June 14 Plan|
|New Equalization Aid|
(for “underfunded” districts)
|$100 million||$100 million|
|Adjustment Aid Shift|
(from “overfunded” to “underfunded” districts)
|$31 million *|
(Adjustment Aid cuts are limited to no more than 20% of excess funding, 1.5% of a district’s total budget or 2% percent of a district’s total state aid, whichever is lower.)
(Loss of funding is limited to 1.5% of total district budget.)
|Additional Extraordinary Special Education Cost Aid||$25 million|
(for up to 17 districts)
|$25 million||$25 million|
|* The $31 million reallocation will come from districts receiving more than 100 percent of the amount indicated by the state’s school finance formula, under the School Funding Reform Act of 2008.|
“The most recent school funding compromise retains a needed increase in state aid for school districts that have experienced enrollment increases and must expand programming,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “These districts have been persistently underfunded.
“While the proposal also appears to lessen the impact of adjustment aid cuts to districts considered to be ‘over-funded,’ we cannot support a reduction in state aid for any school district, particularly at this stage of the budget cycle,” he commented.
“The new compromise would provide additional relief for high-cost out-of-district special education placements, which are required through a child’s individual education plan,” Feinsod continued. “The cost of out-of-district placements continues to be a major concern among school districts throughout the state.
“Special education is a state- and federally required service,” he explained. “However, the majority of special education funding is provided by local school districts. Required out-of-district placements can have a negative impact on the resources available for other education purposes.”
The state’s Office of Legislative Services has issued district-by-district state aid data, comparing the funding under the latest compromise with the amounts originally recommended by the Governor in February.
Update June 30, 2017
The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of the state’s local boards of education and includes the majority of New Jersey’s charter schools as associate members. NJSBA provides training, advocacy and support to advance public education and promote the achievement of all students through effective governance.