Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Morris, Essex, Passaic) is extremely disappointed with FY 2021 school aid figures for the communities in her legislative district, noting that two school districts are losing s combined $4.2 million.
She said other municipal schools in her district are receiving aid: “that is inadequate to the objective of lowering the property tax burden on homeowners and businesses that fund local education.”
“Gov. Murphy said his school aid plan for FY 2021 is designed to help the middle class. Well there is scant evidence in the state aid figures of help for the middle class in my district; and unfortunately, the taxpayers of Jefferson and West Milford will likely see their property taxes increase significantly while they shoulder a second straight year of enormous cuts in state education aid,” said DeCroce.
Jefferson is slated to lose $2.25 million in state aid, according to the governor’s plan, while West Milford residents will shoulder a $1.97 million loss in state aid. Butler Borough will receive $964 less aid than in the current district.
“The governor has shut the door on tax relief for the taxpayers in Jefferson and West Milford,” said DeCroce.
Overall, said DeCroce the municipal schools in her district will not receive enough state aid increases to offset the burden of New Jersey’s nation leading property taxes.
The biggest state aid increase in LD-26 will go to Parsippany-Troy Hills, which is scheduled to receive $914,932 more in 2021 than it received in the current year. Nevertheless, said DeCroce, the additional aid to Parsippany schools amounts to a total state aid package of $7 million – which is less than 5 percent of the district’s $142 million tax levy.
“The homeowners, renters and businesses of Parsippany will have to finance 95 percent of their education costs, while many other school districts in the state will pay far less than that percentage. How is the governor’s aid formula helping the middle class in Parsippany?” asked DeCroce.
Montville will receive the second highest school aid increase of $452,000, bringing total state aid to $3.45 million. DeCroce pointed out that even with the aid increase, state funding accounts for just 4.41 percent of Montville’s school budget of $77 million.
“These state aid figures demonstrate once again a dramatic need to overhaul the school aid funding system so it is fairer for working families,” said DeCroce.
DeCroce added that while the state Department of Education’s school aid figures show an overall aid increase of $7 million to the legislative district, she said the number is inflated by the inclusion of full aid figures for three county-wide vocational high schools., which are used by only a small percentage of the municipal school population.
She noted that the state credits LD-26 with receiving $36.11 million in school aid for Passaic County Vo-Tech; but only one town in her district (West Milford) is in Passaic County.
“It’s this kind of artificial education aid inflation reporting that the legislature has to combat so we can present accurate state aid numbers to our constituents,” said DeCroce.