On Monday, March 15, Gov. Murphy approved legislation, S-2691/A-4310, that authorizes school districts to maintain a surplus at 4% for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. Under existing law, a school district, other than a county vocational school district, may only maintain a surplus of 2%. In addition, under the new measure, the use or transfer of those funds between line items and program categories will not require the approval of the New Jersey Commissioner of Education.

NJSBA supported the bill throughout the legislative process. The bill is part of the Association’s advocacy agenda, which was published in Choosing the Best ‘Road Back’ for Our Children, the second in a series of four special reports on education during the pandemic.

Upon the governor’s approval of the bill, Assemblymen Daniel Benson and Eric Houghtaling, sponsors of the measure, released the following statement:

“The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented complexities and constraints on schools’ financial resources. As we look towards recovery from the pandemic, schools are set to experience unpredictable changes. Whether school districts are conducting in-person, hybrid or virtual instruction, the ability to use money where it’s needed most is essential. From covering the costs of PPE, enhanced sanitization, buses to accommodate social distancing, laptops and everything in between, we cannot anticipate every need. By providing this financial flexibility to districts, along with other tools, we make our schools more resilient and stronger in their educational mission.”

Joining Assemblymen Benson and Houghtaling as prime sponsors of the bill were Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, Senator Linda Greenstein, Senator Nellie Pou, and Senator Shirley Turner. The NJSBA thanks each of the sponsors, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, Senate President Sweeney and Gov. Murphy for advancing and approving the legislation.