LIVINGSTON, NJ — After Gov. Phil Murphy announced that approximately $335 million has been cut from his original school-funding proposal as a result of the financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, Livingston Public Schools (LPS) Superintendent Dr. Matthew Block said the reductions being proposed are “not surprising” and that the district has planned for this eventuality.
According to the state, the revised funding proposal affects the LPS district as follows:
- Original LPS funding proposal: $5,406,315
- Revised LPS funding proposal: $4,864,704
- Total reduction: $541,611
“We understand that these are extremely challenging times and that financial resources have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus,” said Block. “As we have discussed in our budget meetings over the past months, our 2020-2021 budget was created to be flexible and to put us on a firm footing in the event funding cuts are made by the state. We are prepared for this and will continue to monitor the situation as definitive state aid numbers are made available.”
Although the reductions will likely cause many New Jersey districts to need to cut costs since their budgets have been adopted based on the original state aid proposal, the governor reiterated that the original proposal represented a significant funding increase from previous years for most districts. Therefore, many districts are still receiving additional or equal funding compared to the 2019-2020 school year despite the recent reduction.
The reduction also comes during a time when districts need to consider the unexpected expenses of remote learning as well as the added cost of safety precautions and social-distancing protocols that might be in place when schools reopen. However, some of these costs could be offset by funding received through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF) that has been established as part of the CARES Act.
Under the ESSERF, Livingston is eligible for $100,204 to assist with unexpected costs over the last several and for the remainder of the school year, such as funds needed to provide devices to students and resources for teachers.
During a recent Livingston Board of Education meeting, LPS Business Administrator Steve Robinson explained that LPS is entitled to keep $79,561 to be utilized for one of 12 purposes that have been deemed appropriate and will be required to distribute the remaining $20,642 to non-public schools located within the municipality.
If LPS acquires this grant, which the district is currently applying for, Robinson said he expects the funds to be used for cleaning supplies and technological needs, according to Robinson.
CLICK HERE to read more about how this funding would affect the LPS district.