This article was updated on June 30 to include a link to district-by-district state aid data.
The state Senate and Assembly budget committees on Monday, June 26 released an appropriations act with adjusted state aid numbers, the result of negotiation among the legislative leadership and Gov. Chris 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 overfunded, 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 (and other 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 ‘overfunded,’ 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.”
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.
Vote Expected Thursday The budget bills now move to the full Senate and General Assembly. Both houses are scheduled to vote on the budget Thursday, June 29. The final budget will need to be signed into law before Saturday, July 1.
School Board Notes will provide further analysis of the 2017-2018 state budget after it is signed by the governor.