SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - State Aid will be cut to South Brunswick schools by roughly eight million dollars over the next six years. The decision was made by the state after assessing the valuation of South Brunswick at approximately 9.9 billion dollars. According to a new funding formula that is being used by the state, they decided that the eight million dollars being reduced from state aid should be made up from local taxes.
Scott Feder, the superintendent of the South Brunswick School District, says that the state aid that they received every year becomes part of the schools operating budget and is used throughout all schools on a wide variety of operating expenses. According to a chart provided by the state, state aid provided to South Brunswick schools for the 2018-2019 school year was at 24.9 million dollars, it is projected to be cut down every year. It is projected to be 16.3 million dollars by 2025.
Feder has assured that the aid being cut to South Brunswick schools will be done gradually as to avoid any major and sudden cuts to the schools or cause any detriment to the quality of student learning. Feder has assured that there will be no major and immediate cuts to South Brunswick schools anytime soon.
“What I can say with certainty is that we will look for ways to maintain the most important functions, while always looking to reduce spending while not reduce services to our students and families.” Feder said in an email “we are still going to approach this optimistically and look for the best solutions. I believe the community and staff have faith that we will do this with the utmost transparency and care.”
Feder calls the state’s new plan of making up for the loss of state aid with local taxes “an unfathomable proposition” as schools operate under a capped budget and could not access the money at this time. The district has been looking for other means of aid in the meantime, such as ‘Extraordinary Aid’ which has been increased in the district from $600,000 in the 2016-2017 school year to 1.2 million dollars this year due to business office and the special education office working together, according to Feder’s email.
The district has also given testimony in Washington, D.C. to support an increase in Title I funding, which is used to increase academic achievement of students by improving teachers and school leadership quality. Feder says that the district hopes to increase this funding by 25%
“The message is that we have a Board of Education who has been masterful in managing two important factors; student learning and fiscal responsibility.” Feder said in his email, “We will continue to do just that and make decisions for the betterment of the community, which includes maintaining a high-performing, world-class school system, while managing taxes. We will continue to look for places to save, without losing the best of what we do for kids."