NEWTON, NJ — When the school funding details of Governor Phil Murphy’s first budget were announced last week, Newton School District came out a winner.
Newton will receive an increase of $301,009 or 4.9 percent over last year’s state aid. The total anticipated aid is $6,466,266. While statewide nearly 400 districts will see an increase in state aid, Newton is one of only three in Sussex County that will see their state aid rise. Lenape Valley Regional High School and Green are the other two districts expecting to see an increase.
Following with announcements made during the budget hearing, Superintendent Dr. Kennedy Greene said the windfall would be passed on to allow for tax relief for Newton residents rather than be earmarked to be spent by the school district.
“The Newton Board of Education is allocating its entire $301,009 in additional state aid as tax relief to our citizens, bringing the total reduction in local school taxes from the past two fiscal years to more than $520,000,” Green said.
“We are grateful the state of New Jersey has provided additional state aid to the Newton school district,” Newton Town Manager Thomas S. Russo Jr said. “Also, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Greene and the school board members, Newton taxpayers will be the direct beneficiaries of this increased aid.”
Greene has actively lobbied for fair school funding and relief for districts like Newton that are underfunded and over taxed, according to the funding formula. In January Greene led a contingency of 10 school districts, four municipalities and 30 individuals that filed a suit against the state regarding school funding.
“We are pleased that the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget includes over $340M in new money as a significant down payment on full funding of the state aid formula, and that severely under aided districts are being prioritized,” Greene said.
“Dr. Greene is to be especially recognized for his leadership statewide on the issue of fairness in school funding,” Russo said. “The town looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with all interested parties until the Newton taxpayers receive the full school funding from the state of New Jersey that has eluded them all these years.”
In response to the announcement of the additional tax relief, the Town of Newton has extended the grace period for the third quarter taxes for 2018 to August 14, according to town officials.