The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) last week issued its 2019-2020 state aid notices to school districts and posted the state aid summary and individual allotments on its website. The numbers reflect Gov. Murphy’s proposed state budget, which he presented to the Legislature on March 5.
The proposed budget includes a $206.2 million increase in formula aid statewide, and it would result in increases in aid for 368 school districts. However, 197 districts would experience decreases in state funding from current-year amounts, with cuts of 2.5 percent or more in 142 districts and 5 percent or more in 93 districts.
The changes in state aid largely result from Senate Bill 2, enacted last year to address the inability of the state to operate its school funding formula for nearly a decade.
“The New Jersey School Boards Association represents all of the state’s local boards of education in their pursuit of quality education for all students,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director, following release of the state aid figures.
“The proposed state budget supports the important goal of restoring fair and adequate funding for those districts that were persistently under-aided for a decade. But, in the process, cuts to a number of school districts have occurred and are damaging the educational fiber of those systems.
“We urge New Jersey’s leaders to ensure that no child’s education is harmed by drastic cuts in state aid and to do so without impeding the progress of Senate Bill 2 in restoring funds to under-aided districts,” said Feinsod. “Emergent relief and increased state support for extraordinary special education programming are among strategies that should be considered.”
The proposed budget will be subject to hearings and deliberation by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Budget Committee starting next week. A new state budget is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.
“During the budget deliberation process, it is critical that lawmakers listen to the concerns of all of the state’s boards of education,” said Feinsod.