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RED BANK, NJ – A big shout out to our local politicians; Senator Vin Gopal, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey who announced that Red Bank schools will receive more than $200,000 in extraordinary special education aid next year, an increase of 58.1 percent from this year.  Red Bank Regional will receive more than $150,000, an increase of 70.6 percent.

The Monmouth County school districts in New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District will receive nearly $10 million in extraordinary special education aid following the victory of their #EveryKidCounts campaign this summer.

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This additional state funding will go toward the high costs of extraordinary special education in Monmouth County schools, reducing the burden on local property taxpayers.

“These millions of dollars represent hope for a lot of people, from teachers to parents to taxpayers.  Over the past ten years, extraordinary special education aid has been shrinking, putting an enormous strain on local districts to pay for expensive special education programs.  With this funding, we can finally see real relief delivered to our struggling schools,” said Gopal. 

Common expenses for special education programs including personal aides, custom learning resources, and renovated classrooms can create mounting crises for cash-strapped school districts. Under current law, schools are meant to qualify for extraordinary special education aid if they spend more than a certain amount on educating a student with special needs.

A public school is eligible if it spends more than $40,000 on a single student’s education - approximately twice the average per-student cost statewide - and can theoretically qualify for up to 90 percent reimbursement of its costs.

Assemblywoman Downey said,  “Historically, this lifeline has never been funded at more than 80 percent - and since 2012, has plummeted to 50 percent.”  Downey oversees issues relevant to residents with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities as Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee. “Thanks to our #EveryKidCounts campaign, we’re seeing our district’s extraordinary special education aid jump by more than 33 percent, bringing us a huge step closer to full funding of this vital program.”

“When you get right down to it, this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of hundreds of people who came together, spread the word, and told legislative leadership that they needed this funding in the final budget,” said Houghtaling.  “Thanks to the voices of folks from towns all across Monmouth County, we’ve seen an outpouring of public support that’s really raised the standard for this issue and helped us fight hard to see it through.”

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