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Mayor's Round Table

Mayor's Roundtable: Redevelopment to be Discussed

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The next Mayor’s Roundtable will be filmed on Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The mayor’s guest will be Councilman Kevin Hall, who will provide an ...

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It's Not Just Fitness, It's A Mindset

Help Your Athlete Reach Potential

Have you ever watched your kids on the field and wished they were just a little faster? If so, you're not alone. Every day, parents come to us looking for help getting their athletes to ...

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Letters to the Editor

Increasing VA Accountability & Economic Opportunity for Our Veterans This Memorial Day

May 22, 2015

Dear Friend, Memorial Day is a time when Americans pay tribute, honor and remember those who have served our country bravely and sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom and democracy. ...

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Today's Events

Police Blotter

Personal Property and Car Theft in Berkeley Heights Neighborhoods

May 25, 2015

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - During the overnight hours of May 22 into May 23, several unlocked vehicles, parked in both driveways and in the street, were entered and personal property was removed ...

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Press Releases

Columns

Weltman Home Services: Need a plumber? An electrician? An HVAC technician? One call takes care of it all!

If You Are on the Fence, the Time is Now!

If you are on the fence replacing your on AC the time is now!  Weltman Home Services is offering a $750 INSTANT CASH REBATE on all new installations but it's only good until JUNE 15th. ...

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Kayla's Creative Art Studio Calendar of Classes

Kayla's Creative Art Studio's May Calendar of Events

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Kayla's Creative Art Studio offers a full calendar of classes throughout the month. Visit www.kaylascreativeartstudio.com for a calendar of events ...

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Real Estate

4 ARDSLEY COURT, NEW PROVIDENCE

  • Berkeley Heights
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 2.5
  • Price: $669,000.00

Featured Business Listing

Gov. Christie Announces K-12 State Aid to Exceed $9 Billion for N.J. Schools

By THE ALTERNATIVE PRESS STAFF

February 27, 2014 at 3:20 PM

TRENTON, NJ - Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday announced state school-aid figures that amount to unprecedented levels of funding in the history of New Jersey for grades kindergarten through 12.

Direct state aid for education will now exceed $9 billion, with almost $37 million in additional aid to ensure that every school district across the board will receive a funding increase.

“Our Fiscal Year 2015 Budget provides the most funding in New Jersey history for education for a fourth year in a row,” Christie said. “By committing more than $12.9 billion, we are furthering this Administration’s commitment to ensure that every child, no matter where they live, has the opportunity for a quality education. With a record-setting $9 billion in direct aid to schools, nearly $40 million more than the previous year, we are continuing the path of education reform necessary for students to succeed in the 21st century.”

Christie proposed a $34.4 billion fiscal year 2015 budget on Tuesday. By law, state aid to school districts must be announced within two days of the governor’s budget address.

Total state aid for education will increase by $36.8 million, from $8.977 billion this year to a total of 9.014 billion in fiscal 2015. In addition to more than $9 billion in direct school aid, the fiscal year 2015 budget continues to provide school districts with other significant financial support, including $519.8 million for construction debt service, as well as a total of $3.36 billion for teachers’ pension, Social Security and post-retirement medical costs.  

“In spite of enormous economic challenges, state funding for New Jersey’s public schools is at the highest levels ever,” said Education Commissioner Chris Cerf. “New Jersey’s commitment to education includes additional funding to promote innovation such as longer school days and school years; upgrading technology for use in the classroom and for high-quality assessments; and providing local school officials with a great deal of decision-making authority to focus on improving academics in their hometown schools.” 

New Jersey’s per-pupil spending already ranks among the highest in the nation, and nearly a quarter of the fiscal year 2015 state budget is proposed to go toward direct aid to schools. “However, it is important to understand that it’s not only how much we spend on education, but how effectively we spend our education dollars that matters,” Cerf noted.

Additional Aid for Every Student  Every K-12 school district will see an increase in aid based on its projected student enrollment. The per-pupil funding – which amounts to an additional $20 for every student – will be added to the amount that each district received last year and would be available through two new aid categories:

 

·       Per-Pupil Growth Aid: Nearly $13.5 million will be allocated to Per-Pupil Growth Aid, which can be used for virtually any general fund budget item. The decision on where to spend these funds will be made at the local level.

 

·       PARCC Readiness: Another amount of nearly $13.5 million will be available for PARCC readiness. PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a consortium of 18 states collaborating to develop a common set of K-12 English and math assessments that reflect the core standards that determine college and career readiness. The PARCC assessments, which tap the same technologies that students often already use in the classroom as part of a 21st century education, will replace the existing paper-and-pencil NJ ASK and HSPA tests by the spring of 2015. Schools that are fully prepared for technology demands can use the funding stream for any other general fund budget item, at the local school board’s discretion.

 

While all school districts will receive funding for Per-Pupil Growth Aid and PARCC Readiness, other districts may take advantage of other available funding streams, including:

 

Innovation Fund  The governor’s proposed budget provides $5 million for an Education Innovation Fund to cultivate innovative practices and reward success. The Innovation Fund will provide New Jersey’s educators with the support and resources necessary to pioneer innovations leveraging extended learning time, educational technology and personalized learning, share successes and challenges with fellow leaders, and replicate successful new models of teaching and learning across the state. A major priority in the Innovation Fund will be for districts that develop different approaches to extend students’ learning time, including extended school day or school year.  The Innovation Fund will be distributed through a competitive grant process, and the best and most effective of these initiatives will help bring extended learning time and other innovations to scale statewide.

 

School Choice  In September 2010, when Gov. Christie signed into law the Interdistrict  Public School Choice Program allowing students to attend school at a participating Choice district, the state had a limited pilot program with 15 districts participating. The Choice program has become immensely popular, swelling to 105 districts serving 4,682 students by this current school year. The governor’s proposed additional appropriation of $4.88 million will bring the total funding to nearly $53.95 million next year, opening the program to 130 districts and serving more than 5,100 children.

 

Extraordinary Costs of Special Education  The Governor’s proposed budget increases the state’s share of extraordinary costs of special education by an additional $2.27 million, to a total of $165 million. Local school officials have long noted that their budgets are pinched when faced with extraordinary costs of special education. This funding covers a portion of a district’s expenses over $40,000 per student for children who are served in-district, or a portion of expenses over $55,000 for students who are served outside the district.

 

Other Aid Categories  The proposed fiscal year 2015 budget increases funding for preschool education by an additional $4.77 million, to a total of $652.8 million. This is due to anticipated growth in the number of children enrolled in qualifying preschool programs, which will fund 143 districts and more than 50,000 students.

 

District-by-district state aid allocations can be found at http://www.nj.gov/education/stateaid/1415