School board members from Ocean County met Tuesday night, Oct. 9, with leaders of the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) to discuss how state funding changes are affecting local districts.

David Hespe, the former New Jersey education commissioner, Michael Vrancik, NJSBA’s director of governmental relations, and Christopher Jones, NJSBA’s legislative advocate, addressed the meeting in Lakewood.

The 2018-2019 state budget, and Senate Bill 2, changed the school funding landscape, said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director.

“For about two-thirds of our members, referred to as ‘underfunded,’ the legislation promises to put school funding back on track. That’s long overdue,” Feinsod said. “But the legislation also resulted in last-minute funding cuts — some severe – in the remaining one third of our districts. That’s simply unfair.”

This month, the NJSBA will conduct three regional meetings for districts that have suffered cuts in state aid. The programs will provide forums where school board members can address their particular situations, learn about options, and receive guidance on advocacy, Feinsod said. The meetings are similar to the forums the NJSBA conducted earlier this year for the underfunded school districts.

In addition to the Oct. 9 Ocean County meeting, forums are scheduled in Cape May Court House on Oct. 16 and Wanaque, Passaic County, on Oct. 18. Register for the meetings labeled “School Funding 2019 and Beyond.”

The meeting led by Ocean County School Boards Association President Jackie Bermudez included an assessment of the New Jersey School Funding Reform Act and how it will affect districts in the future.


ocean county sba
Former Education Commissioner David Hespe (left) and Dr. Stephen Genco, superintendent of the Jackson Township school district, addressed the crowd in Lakeland on Oct. 9.