The New Jersey Department of Education’s Division of Finance has provided guidance to school districts on the use of the additional state aid included in the 2017-2018 state budget.
In a July 14 memo to superintendents and business administrators, Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington stated, “…NJDOE approval…for a district board of education to appropriate unbudgeted or under-budgeted state aid is herein granted.”
The NJDOE materials state that district boards of education/boards of school estimate that recognized an increase in total general fund state aid may choose to use the increased funding during 2017-2018 to:
- Provide tax relief (with approval from the municipality and/or county tax office) by reducing the certified tax levy presented in the originally approved 2017-2018 budget; and/or
- Increase the 2017-2018 general fund appropriations during the budget year.
For districts that received notice of state aid reductions, the commissioner granted approval, through August 1, to transfer unassigned general fund surplus to offset the reduction. “Any district that is set to receive less state aid in the revised notice must follow the instructions in the aforementioned guidance document, including the required submissions to the county office,” she stated in her memo.
Based on language included in the 2017-2018 state budget, districts that received notification of a reduction in general fund state aid and are able to demonstrate fiscal distress may apply for additional state assistance.
NJSBA encourages school districts to review their revised state aid notices and the NJDOE’s guidance for detailed information on implementing 2017-2018 changes in state aid.