After talking about it, lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy announced a bill that would try to help school districts that were going to lose a lot of money in the coming year.
In the budget for Fiscal Year 2024, school districts that would get less money for schools would be able to ask for more money. This was part of a plan that was announced early Friday evening.
These one-time requests would be limited to 66% of the difference between how much money the district got for the school year 2022-2023 and how much money is being proposed for the school year 2023-2024.
Senator Vin Gopal, Senator Andrew Zwicker, and Assemblyman Roy Freiman are all Democrats. Their bill would give eligible districts more than $100 million.
That’s more than the $20 million in Stabilization Aid for schools that would lose money under the state formula, which is already in Murphy’s plan for the state budget.
How NJ dIstricts Get Partial Restoration of School Aid, Under the Bill
Phil Murphy said that all eligible districts that send a request to the state Commissioner of Education would get the extra money for the next school year as long as they included a written plan for how they would pay for operations in the years after the one-time aid ran out.
The S-2 funding formula, which was signed into law in 2018, has led to less money from the state for schools.
Superintendent of Brick Township Schools Tom Farrell has said that the state’s way of giving money to schools is flawed. He said, “It’s unfair and it’s not fair, but more importantly, there’s a paradox and a contradiction in the way the formula is given and used.” And many districts have to learn this the hard way.”
GOP Senator Oroho: We Support Partial Restoration of Funds but Want Bigger Change
Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho quickly said what he thought about the new law.
“Senate Republicans still think there’s no reason for the Murphy administration to cut funding to any school district when the state has a huge $10 billion budget surplus,” Oroho said Friday night.
Senate Republicans continue to believe that there is no reason for the Murphy administration to cut funding to any school district when the state has a massive $10 billion budget surplus. 1/3https://t.co/qgQhc6zBjv
— Senator Steven Oroho (@stevenoroho) March 17, 2023
“We support the proposal to partially restore funding, but we’re still worried that it’s only a one-year fix to a long-term problem,” Oroho said.
“If we don’t change the way schools get money for good, the money that was temporarily restored will be taken away again next year, and state aid will be cut even more.”
Bill Sponsor Says of School Aid Cuts ‘now Is Not the Time for More Uncertainty’
In a joint statement with the governor’s office, Gopal said, “Our schools have been under a lot of pressure over the past three years because of the pandemic. These pressures include not knowing what resources are available, learning recovery, and a growing shortage of teachers.”
Continuing, he said, “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.”
In the recently proposed state budget by the governor, $20.5 billion is set aside for education. However, as you can see below, some districts could lose up to half of the state aid they used to get.
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