Ocean County Lawmakers call on Governor to make S2 adjustments
Following expected but undesired state aid cuts to dozens of school districts following Governor Phil Murphy's address on Friday, 10th District Lawmakers are once again making a push to restore funding for several Ocean County schools.
Ocean County 10th District Senator Jim Holzapfel (R), Assemblymen Greg McGuckin (R) and John Catalano (R) are calling on Governor Murphy to make "some painless, common sense adjustments" to his budget to soften the burden on school districts dealt a crippling blow to their budgets.
“Schools in our legislative district are losing almost $10 million, and almost 200 school districts across the state are seeing aid cut,” Senator Holzapfel said on Monday. “This is a desperate situation that threatens the quality of education for students in Toms River and Brick and almost one/third of the State’s school districts. There has to be a permanent solution to the flaws in the funding formula, but right now we need an immediate solution, and the Governor has the power to make things right.”
In his proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget, Murphy designated $50 million for stabilization aid for schools, and $300 million for the State’s rainy day fund.
The 10th District Legislators who have acted previously in urging the Governor to prevent the cuts are imploring him again by asking him to combine the stabilization aid and a portion of the rainy day money.
“Almost 200 districts are facing draconian reductions totaling $158 million,” Assemblyman McGuckin said. “The Governor, right now, can stop the bleeding and ensure the efficient education of our State’s children and future leaders. This fix will buy time for the Governor and the Legislature to allow the fair share issue to be analyzed, and to once and for all solve the obvious and known flaws in the school aid formula.”
Under the Fiscal Year 2021 K-12 Formula Aid plan released last week by the New Jersey Department of Education, six school districts in LD 10 will have their resources decreased.
Toms River Regional District will lose more than $5.3 million (8 percent) of their state aid, and Brick Township aid will drop $4.2 million (13 percent).
The $237,600 funding gap for Seaside Heights Borough Schools represents a 22.3 percent loss.
“The taxpayers and schools in Ocean County have been getting the short end of the stick for too long,” Assemblyman Catalano said. “Under Murphy’s budget, this will be one more in a series of unfair budgets that will lead to compromises in the classrooms and higher property tax bills. We have identified an option that does not take any money from other school districts or programs and applies it to teaching our children.”
Brick Township Schools like Toms River, Jackson, Lavallette, Little Egg Harbor, Manchester, Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach and Point Pleasant Borough in Ocean County and many others across the state are being directly impacted by the S2 legislation or school funding formula in a negative way.
There are 200 school districts said to be overfunded by the state of New Jersey are losing state aid while 361 districts who are said to be underfunded are receiving additional aid all to what Senate President Steve Sweeney says to make every district set at 100-percent funding.
Following a December rally at the statehouse in Trenton, 10th District Lawmakers made their case to their fellow lawmakers and Senate President Sweeney that the school funding formula needs to be released.
The 10th District (Ocean County) State Lawmakers cited numbers from the US Census Bureau that state the median income for the entire state is $76,475.
Brick Township has a median income of $73,051.
Assemblyman McGuckin said those numbers are a clear indication that these townships are middle class and 10th District Lawmakers have introduced a bill seeking action.
“We have introduced legislation to require the Department of Education to disclose the school funding formulas for all schools throughout the state," McGuckin said. "This legislation is our only option to ensure full transparency by the DOE with our school districts and taxpayers.”
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