On Friday, June 28, the New Jersey Legislature adopted the state budget for fiscal year 2025 — and it was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy later that day. Overall spending in the budget totals roughly $56.6 billion. Regarding the educational components of the budget, the fiscal year 2025 Appropriations Act (S-2025/A-4700) is largely similar to the budget message the governor delivered in late February. The following provides a breakdown of funding items most relevant to members of the New Jersey School Boards Association.

K-12 Formula Aid
  • The budget fully funds the School Funding Reform Act formula aid. This equates to well over $11 billion in formula aid, a $908 million increase over fiscal year 2024. Fiscal year 2025 marks the conclusion of S-2’s seven-year phase-in schedule.
  • This amount does not include the more than $44 million in state school aid cuts that were restored earlier this year through the Stabilized School Budget Aid Grant Program pursuant to P.L.2024, c.13.
  • Eliminates funding for stabilization aid, which has been included in recent budget cycles to help ease the transition to reduced SFRA funding amounts for some districts. The line item was funded at $20 million in fiscal year 2024, and the governor had proposed reducing it to $5 million in his budget message.
  • The bill includes language to provide additional funding to support the SFRA’s income data appeals process regarding the income data utilized in the calculation of state aid. Such funding would be provided to districts that have successfully appealed their aid allocations pursuant to that appeals process.
  • The budget maintains funding for extraordinary special education aid at its fiscal year 2024 level – $420 million. 
Teacher Recruitment and Retention
  • $10 million for the Student Teacher Stipend program (same as fiscal year 2024, the first year of the program). The budget bill also includes language that increases the maximum award under the program from $3,000 to $4,500.
  • Increased funding for the High Poverty School District Minority Teacher Recruitment Program to $1 million (up from $750,000 in fiscal year 2024.)
  • $550,000 for the Men of Color Hope Achievers Program, under the “K-12 Education Workforce Diversity Programs” line item.
  • $5 million for the Teacher Loan Redemption Program (up from $1 million in fiscal year 2024).
  • Adds language to allow the carry-forward of an unexpended balance for the Paraprofessional Training Program, which was funded at $1 million in the fiscal year 2024 budget.
  • Culture and Climate Innovation Grants, which incentivize public school districts to address local issues related to educator quality of life, are funded at $1.45 million (down from $1.6 million in the governor’s budget message and $2 million in fiscal year 2024). 
Academic Programs
  • Literacy initiatives:
    • $5.25 million (up from $2.5 million in the governor’s budget message) for a grant program to help school districts to acquire or develop high-quality literacy screening tools for kindergarten through grade three. This funding is expected to help offset costs associated with pending legislation currently on the governor’s desk that would require semiannual literacy screening for students in that grade span.
    • $1.9 million for the Governor’s Literacy Initiative, to be used for a grant for the Learning Through Listening program and the Excite Reading Initiative at the New Jersey unit of Learning Ally.
  • The budget also continues to support the New Jersey Department of Education’s Reading Acceleration Professional Integrated Development program, which is designed to enhance literacy learning acceleration professional development opportunities for elementary teachers.
  • Artificial intelligence: The budget establishes two new grant programs to help school districts navigate expanding AI technology.
    • $750,000 for Artificial Intelligence Career and Technical Education Expansion Grants to support new AI-focused CTE coursework.
    • $750,000 Artificial Intelligence Innovation in Education Grants to help school districts explore generative artificial intelligence.
    • Both programs were originally proposed to be funded at $1 million each under the governor’s budget message.
  • $4 million for Climate Change Education Grant Schools  (down from $5 million in fiscal year 2024)
  • $1.6 million for the K-12 Computer Science Education Initiative.
  • Access to Advanced Coursework: $500,000 for Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Course Expansion Grants (down from $800,000 in the governor’s budget message and $1 million in fiscal year 2024).
Student Health and Nutrition
  • Free school meal expansion: $50.6 million (a $30 million increase) to reimburse school districts for expanded eligibility for free school breakfast and lunch pursuant to the “Working Class Families Anti-Hunger Act.”
  • NJ4S: $43 million for the New Jersey Statewide Student Support Services initiative within the Department of Children and Families. NJ4S is the statewide hub-and-spoke model of services and resources intended to support youth mental wellness and promote prevention initiatives.
  • School Based Youth Services: Approximately $39 million for the DCF’s School Linked Services programs, which supports the School Based Youth Services Program.
  • $500,000 for training for school-based health professionals.
  • $250,000 to expand the Teacher Leader Network (down from $400,000 in the governor’s budget message and $500,000 in fiscal year 2024).
  • $3 million to fund a Community Schools Pilot Program.
  • $2.25 million to continue the Clayton Model Pilot Program (up from $2 million in the governor’s budget message, but down from $2.5 million in fiscal year 2024).
  • $1 million for the Mental Health Screening in Schools Grant Program.
School Facilities and Operations
  • Capital maintenance and emergent projects: $50 million to finance the Schools Development Authority Capital Maintenance and Emergent Projects Funding program to support emergent needs and capital maintenance in school districts (down from $75 million in fiscal year 2024).
  • Charter school facility improvements: $9 million to administer grants to support emergent needs, capital maintenance and facilities costs in charter schools and renaissance school projects (up from $5 million in the governor’s budget message and down from $20 million in fiscal year 2024).
  • Free menstrual products: $3.5 million to reimburse schools for the provision of menstrual products free of charge in every public school, including any of the grades 6-12, per P.L.2023, c.147.
  • Shared services and Regionalization: Continues the Local Efficiency Achievement Program and the School Regionalization Efficiency Program to promote shared services and school district regionalization efforts.
    • SREP = $2 million (down from $5 million in the governor’s budget message and fiscal year 2024).
    • LEAP = $6 million (down from $7.5 million in fiscal year 2024).
Preschool Aid
  • Preschool education aid is funded at $1.23 billion, an increase of $123.8 million (11.2%) over fiscal year 2024. This would fully fund programs that started in the 2023-2024 school year, and it includes $20 million to expand preschool into new districts.
  • As was the case in fiscal year 2024, a school district that receives preschool education aid for the first time in 2024-2025 must demonstrate “due diligence in establishing partnerships to provide its preschool program through a mixed delivery system in all licensed child care providers and Head Start programs in its community or neighboring communities that are willing and able to meet all preschool program requirements.”
  • The Legislature also added language directing the NJDOE commissioner, in allocating grant funds, to give preference to districts that demonstrate in their preschool expansion grant applications a planned preschool program that includes a mixed-delivery model of preschool education.
Other Additions by the Legislature

In addition to the revisions described above, the Legislature also added increased or added funding for various PreK-12 education items. Overall, the Legislature increased funding to the NJDOE by approximately $54 million compared to governor’s proposal. Most of the legislative add-ons direct funding to specific school districts and are primarily geared toward supporting student mental health initiatives or capital projects. The full list of such programs can be viewed on the score sheet for the fiscal year 2025 budget bill.

More details on the fiscal year 2025 appropriations can be found in the documents below: