Government

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

Credits: TAP Staff

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.”

Sign Up for E-News

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

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Y Summer Camp Early Bird Registration Ends February 28

February 23, 2017

Time to get your CAMP on! With the weather getting warmer, we can’t help but look forward to sunny, warm days filled with fun and laughter at Summer Camp! Registration for Y Camp at the Summit Area YMCA is now open, and with over 40 different unique camps, there’s something for every kid (ages 3-17)!

Get hands on with art, cooking, building, science and more! From month long camps ...

Y Summer Camp Early Bird Registration Ends February 28

Time to get your CAMP on! With the weather getting warmer, we can’t help but look forward to sunny, warm days filled with fun and laughter at Summer Camp! Registration for Y Camp at the Summit Area YMCA is now open, and with over 40 different unique camps, there’s something for every kid (ages 3-17)!

Get hands on with art, cooking, building, science and more! From month long camps ...

See Sgt. Thomas Rich of STOPit in Warren on Feb. 22

WARREN, NJ - Is your child on Instagram, music.ly, Minecraft, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Oovoo, Skype, Kik, Vine or playing games on-line or POKÉMON GO ?!? Thinking about getting your child a smartphone or do they already have one?

Learn how to protect them and see Sgt. Tom Rich, the Cyber-Safety expert for STOPit, at Watchung Hills on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. In the ...

Find Out About 'Friends of 6259' at Berkeley Heights VFW on March 1

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Residents of Berkeley Heights and neighboring towns are invited to attend the initial information meeting about "Friends of 6259" at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at 15 Locust Ave., Berkeley Heights.

The group, which has yet to be formed, will provide assistance to the local VFW Post 6259 in many areas, including:  
* Programs and activities for ...

'Great Swamp Experience' Permanent Exhibit Opened This Week At EEC Ribbon Cutting in Basking Ridge

February 20, 2017

BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Ever since the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge was established by an act of US Congress in 1960 after a group of local activitists rallied to protect the land from development, the native habitat for hundreds of species of birds and other plants and living creatures has been also been a living classroom for learning about the environment.

Free permanent ...

Union County Departmental Budget Hearing Dates Announced for 2017

February 22, 2017

ELIZABETH-The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced a set of open public hearing dates in February and March for the review of the soon-to-be released 2017 Executive Budget.

The hearings all begin at 5 p.m and the dates are:

* Tuesday, Feb.28th:  Galloping Hill Clubhouse,  Kenilworth---Engineering, Public Works and Facilities; Human Services; Parks and ...

Protests, Boisterous Crowd at Leonard Lance's Town Hall Meeting

February 23, 2017

BRANCHBURG, NJ – Rep. Leonard Lance of the state’s 7th Congressional District held his 41st Town Hall at Raritan Valley Community College here this evening, fielding questions ranging from the Affordable Care Act to Russia, from investigating Donald Trump’s taxes to the environment.

As Lance promised, the event began promptly at the official start time of 7 p.m.

But hours ...

Who I Am in 650 Words or Less

The Common Application released their essay questions for the 2017-2018 admissions cycle this past week so we all have essays on the brain.  This always creates a flurry of something between excitement and panic as Juniors start to peruse their choices and grapple over which prompt will allow them to most effectively brag about the impressive things they’ve done in high school.  ...

Jump In….for Better Health!

One of the ways to get cardiovascular exercise is through rebounding….a form of exercise using a mini trampoline that you should know about. In addition to building muscular strength, rebounding is extremely gentle on bones and joints because you’re bouncing on a surface that “gives,” so there’s no solid ground to create a hard impact every time you land. And ...

6 Week Free Gabriele Fitness Challenge Giveaway: Get in while you can!

We're doing it again! We're giving away SIX weeks of our total transformation, kitchen sink training package to FOUR lucky locals! 

The page is OPEN, you can enter here: http://gabrielefitness.com/giveaways/sweepstakes/ (you can bookmark the page ;) 

Or click the link below and enter to win your six week transformation training! Remember, you're going to ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_cb789617256bf3ce6c1e_1eeee91f491efc1daabf_parents_night_out-bh

Fri, February 24, 6:00 PM

Berkeley Heights YMCA, Berkeley Heights

Parents Night Out at Berkeley Heights YMCA!

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_79548a876edeb5df282b_eb72b149b363cd11febd_a1b7f06aa53b6ab2ba46_shipwrecked_icon

Fri, February 24, 8:00 PM

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, Summit

Shipwrecked! An Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_bd37898e032bac06e6b4_371fc5cf8d8c357dbfd0_76b7f922a204345de300_stem_saturdays

Sat, February 25, 9:30 AM

Summit YMCA, Summit

STEM Saturdays

Education

Sat, February 25, 12:00 PM

Passaic River Park, Berkeley Heights

Guided Dog Walk

Green Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_4c4aadfcc462319b8245_b537e49e99263a328957_zumba

Sat, February 25, 1:30 PM

The Connection, Summit

Zumbathon® Charity Event

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Sat, February 25, 6:00 PM

VFW, Kenilworth

Bingo Fundraiser for UC Mudturtles

Giving Back

Real Estate News You Can Use

INVENTORY…INVENTORY…INVENTORY!!!  Where is it??  The 2016 recap of sales statistics for our local communities indicated inventories were at close to historical lows for many towns.  Well, here is what has happened in the past month and where we stand today.  The weather has been mild thus far which is prompting a steady and growing “Spring Market” ...