As part of a new school funding bill that Gov. Phil Murphy backs, the state would give the Jersey City Board of Education $33,701,019 back (D).
Bill S-3732 would give $102,784,455 to dozens of districts across the state. This is because the state budget, which came out earlier this month, cut aid to the Jersey City Public Schools by $51,062,150.
The bill is backed by state Senators Vin Gopal (D-11) and Andrew Zwicker (D-16), as well as Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-16), and the governor has said he supports it, as Politico’s Daniel Han tweeted first.
In a joint statement, Murphy said, “My administration is still committed to giving New Jersey students a world-class education. That’s why we continue to put historic amounts of money into our schools’ budgets every year.”
“As we work to make sure that every student gets the high-quality education they deserve, this extra money will help districts adjust to changes in aid under our state’s school funding formula. I want to thank our legislative partners for working together to reach this agreement for the next school year on behalf of teachers, students, and their communities.
Before this announcement, the Jersey City Board of Estimates (BOE) had already shown a preliminary budget of $1,001,231,825—the largest it’s ever been—with a small tax cut of about $51 per $470,000 home.
This was different from the last few years, when the BOE approved budgets that raised taxes. However, the district was able to get $89,072,074 back from the New Jersey Department of Education in September because of a provision in the American Rescue Plan.
“Our schools have been under a lot of stress over the past three years because of the pandemic,” said Gopal. “There is a lot of uncertainty about resources, learning recovery, and there aren’t enough teachers.”
“Now is not the time for more uncertainty, nor is it the time to ask districts to do with less when they are trying to get back to normal. This money will help ease some of those pressures, make the last transitions easier, and help districts plan for a brighter, bolder future.
If the bill becomes a law, which seems likely, the Hoboken BOE, which has a preliminary budget of $74,875,799 with a tax increase of 8.47 percent, would also be a big winner, getting $142,215 from the state after losing $124,773 at first.
The Hudson County Schools of Technology (+$297,779), the North Bergen BOE (+$780,065), and the Weehawken BOE (+$38,065, net -$19,609) would also get more money.
Zwicker said, “These cuts would have been terrible for our schools, and I’m glad we were able to find a way to make sure that the quality of education for all New Jersey students doesn’t go down.”
“While I’ve been in office, I’ve fought for good budget policies, and now they’re paying off. We can now give New Jersey families good services and focus on lowering property taxes. This bill shows that commitment, and I am proud to be one of its sponsors, ” said Freiman.
At a caucus meeting at Martin Luther King, Jr. school, also known as P.S. No. 11, at 886 Bergen Ave., at 6 p.m. tomorrow, the Jersey City Board of Education (BOE) will talk about their preliminary $1 billion budget.