The South Brunswick School District is set to receive an additional $2.5 million in state aid under a plan announced today by Gov. Chris Christie. The Christie Administration said the state will allocate $850 million in new aid for New Jersey schools in the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget.
“This year, New Jersey increased state aid to school districts by $850 million over last year, restoring every dollar of the cuts we were forced to make last year and increasing aid by an additional $30 million," Gov. Christie said via release. "We are keeping faith with our commitment to New Jersey’s children and families, spending more money per pupil on New Jersey’s students than almost any other state in the country. Now is the time to complement the dollars spent with real education reform to bring a focus on student learning, accountability and results.”
South Brunswick, however, will not be receiving every dollar of the aid that was cut from the district last year.
South Brunswick was to receive about $20.1 million in state aid this year, an increase of $1.26 million, but still short of the $6.3 million in aid that was cut last year. In 2009-10, South Brunswick received about $25.2 million in state aid, which was cut last year to about $18.9 million.
According to figures released today, South Brunswick will receive an additional $2,539,442 in state aid, which brings the revised total aid figure to $21,449,970, which is still about $3.8 million short of the aid received in 2009-10.
The plan released today includes an initial $250 million increase for all school districts, in addition to $450 million for Abbott districts, and $150 million for non-Abbott districts.
"I haven't seen the figures yet, but if we do get more money it would certainly benefit the district," said Board of Education President Stephen Parker on Tuesday afternoon. "We were not expecting additional money, so we don't have plans for it yet. The (Board of Education) and the administration will need to sit down and decide how it will be used."
Gov. Christie added the additional school aid to the final budget document that was recently signed into law, which doubled the rate of increase to most schools that was proposed at the beginning of the year.
“This is about treating suburban districts fairly despite an unfair school funding formula,” said state Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-16) via release. “Thanks to prudent choices made since taking office and the responsible use of unexpected surplus revenues, this year’s budget is able to provide much needed relief to our schools and greater opportunity to our children.”
Yet to be determined is the impact the additional aid will have on South Brunswick, as to a restoration in programming or staffing cuts. South Brunswick School District administration officials were not immediately available for comment. The district has cut 212.7 full time equivalent employees since 2005-06, and went to a pay to participate system for athletics and music programs.
"With the aid cuts, any aid the state can restore can help us," Dr. Parker said. "We have to decide whether to use this to restore some programs or use it to keep taxes down. It depends when it comes and what kind of aid it's rolled in with, so we need the full picture before we can determine how best to use the additional aid."