WEST ESSEX AREA, NJ — When New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Address in Trenton, which included a proposed increase of $336 million in funding for K-12 public school districts, both the West Essex Regional and Caldwell-West Caldwell (CWC) districts were listed among those that would see significant increases over last year’s state funding totals.

Murphy has proposed more funding for 371 districts, including a funding increase of 10 percent or more for about 200 districts and an increase of $1 million or more for nearly 90 districts throughout New Jersey. This proposed increased would bring the total amount of aid to the state’s public K-12 school districts to $9 billion.

If the budget is approved, the CWC public school district is slated to receive an increase of $322,941, which represents an increase of 17.68 percent over last year’s funding.

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"We are grateful to see an increase in state aid for the Caldwell-West Caldwell School District,” said

CWC Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Heinegg. “While the local tax levy generates well over 90 percent of the funds that we use to run the schools, any additional resources are of course always welcome. As we continue to work on the 2020-2021 budget, we will incorporate these funds in a fiscally prudent manner to support the education of the children in our community."

Last year, the CWC district realized a 7.52-percent increase in the cost of employee benefits that represented an increase of $597,659 from the previous year. Contractual increases of 3 percent for employee salaries amounted to an increase of $1,078,356 over the previous year’s budget.

In comparison, West Essex Regional Public Schools is slated to receive an increase of $241,801, which represents an increase of state aid of 15.57 percent over last year’s funding for a total in state aid of $1,795,072, if the governor’s budget is approved.

"We anticipated receiving figures similar to last year,” said Superintendent of Schools Damion Macioci. “I am pleased with the increase and likely the funds will be directed to programs for health and safety."

During the current school year (2019-2020), salaries represent 52 percent and employee benefits represent 16.8 percent of the total budget. State aid revenue represents 3.6 percent of the total budget.

Locally, the four sending districts in West Essex—Roseland, Fairfield, North Caldwell and Essex Fells—are also expecting increases in state aid if the budget is passed as presented. The state budget must be approved by July 1, 2020. 

The proposed figures for all districts (including CWC, West Essex and the four West Essex sending districts) are as follows:

District:                                                                2020-21 Aid                 $ Increase       % Increase

West Essex Regional

$1,795,072

$241,801

15.57%

Caldwell-West Caldwell

$2,149,345

$322,941

17.68%

Fairfield Township

$584,729

$82,173

16.35%

Roseland Borough

$428,110

$59,880

16.26%

Essex Fells Borough

$166,705

$27,681

19.91%

North Caldwell Borough

$543,656

$89,376

19.67%