CLIFFSIDE PARK – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation today to fully and fairly fund public school districts in the state. The bill, S-2, modernizes the State’s school funding formula for the first time in a decade.
“New Jersey’s education system experienced eight years of neglect during the previous administration, which underfunded our public schools by $9 billion,” said Governor Murphy. “This legislation is long overdue and I thank Senate President Steve Sweeney and Speaker Craig Coughlin for their commitment to modernize the State’s school funding system. The necessary adjustments we are making today will bring fairness to the system and ensure our school children receive the quality education they deserve.”
Bloomfield Superintendent of Schools Sal Goncalves said "The board and administration are excited to receive the additional state aid appropriations and we know that it will ensure our efforts to provide excellence in education here in Bloomfield. The board is meeting tonight in a regular scheduled meeting and will continue the discussion of how and when the monies will be utilized." Bloomfield will be receiving $$ 27,671,326 in state aid.
The legislation, which takes effect in Fiscal Year 2020, changes the current school funding law to eliminate adjustment aid as well as State aid growth caps and allows adjustments to tax growth limitations for certain school districts. The balanced approach will provide more equitable funding distribution through the school funding formula.
Over the course of seven years, aid to overfunded districts will be reduced and aid to underfunded districts will be increased so that all public school districts achieve their appropriate levels of assistance under the formula contained in the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) by Fiscal Year 2025.
Any district that loses aid and underspends will be required to increase their prior year school tax levy by 2 percent until Fiscal Year 2025. Abbott districts that underspend but have significantly higher tax rates than the statewide average, will be held harmless from aid losses through Fiscal Year 2025. In addition, county vocational school districts will not see any decrease in state aid.
Underfunded districts will see aid increases based on funding made available from aid reductions, and additional funding provided through the annual appropriations act with the goal of full funding by Fiscal Year 2025.
S-2 sponsors include Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Teresa Ruiz, Senator Linda Greenstein, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Assemblyman Louis Greenwald.
A-4163 sponsors include Assemblymen Nicholas Chiaravalloti and Raj Mukerji, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight as well as Senators Sandra Cunningham and Brian Stack.