On Sept. 9, the New Jersey School Boards Association called for a higher level of school funding in the state’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY2021) budget, citing the additional expenses that schools are incurring due to the coronavirus pandemic, the continued underfunding of districts under the state’s school funding formula, and the inadequate funding of extraordinary special education expenses in the state.

The request was made in comments that NJSBA submitted to the Legislature, which is currently holding hearings on the budget proposal the governor presented on Aug. 25. “NJSBA urges the state to provide more funds to school districts as we address this once-in-a-century crisis,” notes the testimony.

“NJSBA agrees with Governor Murphy and legislative leaders on the need for federal funding to help the state and local school districts during this public health emergency,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director.

“Without sufficient federal and state support, the financial challenges facing local school districts will only grow worse,” he continued. “NJSBA will continue to urge our state and federal lawmakers to find additional funding for public education during these difficult times.”

NJSBA’s full statement can be found here. 

Budget Process Must Conclude by Oct. 1 Legislative budget hearings began this week with the state’s treasurer testifying before the Senate Budget Committee on Sept. 8 and the Assembly Budget Committee on Sept 9. The committees will next hear from New Jersey’s state government department heads concerning their budgets. Interim Commissioner of Education Kevin Dehmer will appear before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 10:30 a.m. His testimony can be found here.

As reported last week, the committees will not be holding public hearings but rather accepting comments on the budget in writing by Sept. 11. Further information can be found here.

The legislature has until Oct. 1 to pass a budget for FY2021. Under normal circumstances, the budget is proposed in late February with the legislature taking four months to craft a final budget bill. However, with the COVID pandemic taking hold throughout the country, the state took the unusual steps of delaying FY2021 until Oct. 1 and adding three months to the end of Fiscal Year 2020.  The 2021 fiscal year will last for nine months, until July 1, 2021.