Freehold Borough among school districts who win in proposed school funding formula
A hot button issue in the 2018 anticipated state budget likely to be signed on Friday is the allocation of school funding, bringing joy to some and anger to many more school districts and towns.
Freehold Borough is one of the 'winners' who will benefit from the the passage of this measure.
Superintendent Rocco Tomazic says they're 50-teachers short of where they'd like to be with a growing student population over the past few years.
While getting state aid for the first time in nearly seven years would help, he adds that it falls short of what they're looking for overall.
"If we were to hire all of those 50-teachers, that would be about $4,000,000.00," said Tomazic.
The current proposed aid Freehold Borough would get is $1,069,861.00 and Tomazic says while 50-teachers wouldn't be a realistic goal with that amount they would be able to hire a lower amount in the interim.
"By adding teachers we would do two things: We would start to lower our very high class size and then be able to add on required services," said Tomazic.
They desperately need the funds he says and have waited a long time to be on the receiving end of state aid to accommodate their growing student population.
"We're over $12,000,000.00 under-funded," said Tomazic. "Freehold Borough is the third most under-funded district in the state based on weighted pupil formula."
He says the state aid they would get helps close that gap but much more is needed to soften the tax burden on residents and help them hire more teachers.
"Our local taxpayers are $2,300,000.00 over their established fair share of what should be coming from the tax budget," said Tomazic.
The need for funding he says is great but they're not greedy, they're just hoping for the proper amount of aid needed.
"We don't consider it an extra benefit, we consider it getting what we should have had in the first place so we can properly run the district and deliver a thorough and efficient education to our students," said Tomazic.
He adds the small amount of aid they would be getting under the proposal would help hire teachers but also ensure educational programs get more funding.
"It would be in lowering elementary class size and to start adding extra special education and English language learner services," said Tomazic.
“I’ve opposed this legislation because it is too narrowly focused and doesn’t represent a real funding solution for all of the host communities across the state that bear the responsibility of educating the children living on New Jersey’s military bases,” said Beck.
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