School aid: Most NJ districts gain, some lose; check yours here
EDISON – State officials on Thursday detailed how the $9.9 billion in direct education funding will be delivered to schools next year, a $650 million increase that isn’t distributed evenly.
The 2023 fiscal year is the fifth in a seven-step transition back to the state’s funding formula, which courts declared constitutional but wasn’t being followed. While that’s good news for most districts, nearly one-third are again losing state aid.
District-level details for every school district in New Jersey are listed at the end of the story below.
Sixty-seven percent of districts will get more aid next year, more than $835 million altogether. But 182 districts are losing nearly $186 million in aid combined, including drops of $68.5 million in Jersey City, $8.6 million in Asbury Park and $5.4 million in Neptune Township.
In a visit to James Monroe Elementary School in Edison, a district that will see an additional $11.8 million, or 33%, Gov. Phil Murphy focused on the positive.
“Every new dollar of state aid is a new dollar for property tax relief,” Murphy said. “It is a new dollar to keep this community affordable and inviting.”
“I am ecstatic to continue implementing the seven-year phase-in to fully fund New Jersey’s school funding formula that was set forth in S2,” said acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan.
Murphy said “the demographics of the state were out of sync with where the money was headed” after nine years of ignoring the school funding formula. He said things are now catching up.
“You couldn’t do it overnight because it would have been too abrupt,” Murphy said. “And so, this budget is year five of that seven-year journey, and we’re committed to continuing that through to fruition.”
Forty-one districts will enjoy aid increases of 25% or more. But 23 districts will lose more than one-fourth of their state aid.
Altogether, six counties’ districts will see less state aid for the 2022-23 school year: Sussex, Ocean, Monmouth, Hudson, Cumberland and Hunterdon.
Sen. Sam Thompson, R-Middlesex, said “it’s outrageous” to cut districts’ aid at a time the state is projecting $4.6 billion in extra revenue this fiscal year.
“Families in these rural and suburban districts are almost certain to get hit with massive property tax increases to keep teachers in classrooms and maintain important programs, including athletics,” said Thompson. “That’s absolutely nuts when Gov. Murphy has billions in the bank.”
In Ocean County, Brick loses another $4.7 million in aid and Toms River Regional is down $4.3 million.
“The argument has been, districts like Brick and Toms River were overfunded for years,” said Assemblyman Greg McGuckin, R-Ocean. “Is it fair and equitable that our schools and other suburban districts have to cut staff and programs, and increase classroom sizes, which negatively impacts student outcomes?”