Petition to prevent major funding cuts Toms River Schools passes 10,000 signatures
Fearful over what the School Funding Formula signed into law in July will do to Toms River Schools, a mother of three in the district continues a community wide effort to prevent what would be crippling cuts in Toms River.
The School Funding Formula which was signed into law to make things fairer will cut nearly $70,000,000.00 from Toms River Schools over the course of the next seven years.
The school district has already had to make some changes when putting together their budget.
Bridget Maillard is an alumni of the district, as well as her husband, that all three of their sons currently attend.
A petition that began shortly after the law was passed has now surpassed 10,000 signatures and counting in a movement aimed at getting the attention of Governor Phil Murphy and state lawmakers to renegotiate and not take away this exorbitant amount of funding from Toms River Regional Schools.
"Knowing all of the opportunities I had available to me when I went to school, I felt very strongly that when you have a district this size operating at the second lowest cost per student in the state...to experience this type of loss of funding and lost opportunity and poor educational conditions for our students, it was at the top of my list to start this grass roots campaign," Maillard said. "This is not okay to do to us, we're so large and so efficient and the impacts are so severe not only on our students but on our town."
Maillard took action by authoring an online petition with a goal of 50,000 signatures in hopes it'll help the district and town show state lawmakers the impact of their decision.
"I feel that a petition with 50,000 plus signatures on it to be attached to the class action lawsuit that the school district and the township have entered...I feel that's going to make some noise and is going to let them know that, 'hey, we vote, we live in this state and this is not okay', this is something that we need to reevaluate," Maillard said.
She believes funding for every school district in the state is not evenly proportioned and that lawmakers need to come up with a plan that makes more sense.
"Negotiations have to open back up," Maillard said. "This is something that not only affects people in districts with children attending school but our retired population and people on fixed income because in that bill is a two-percent mandatory increase in property taxes every year."
She suggests the idea of reallocating funds better to all districts throughout the state.
"It needs to be fair for every district, no matter where they're located or whose attending," Maillard said.
Maillard is calling on parents, alumni and the people of Toms River and the surrounding community to join the effort by signing the petition because this doesn't only affect those involved in or with the schools.
"This goes beyond your kid playing a sport or participating in an activity, this goes to the fact that class sizes are going to increase, staff cuts are going to be made, your child is going to be trying to learn in an environment of 40-plus students to 1 teacher in a classroom," Maillard said. "This goes to affecting applications for college where you're not a well rounded student, you don't have the activities and extra curricular activities to support what you did academically."
Maillard encourages High School students as much as adults in the community to make their voices heard by signing this petition.
In 2017, Toms River Schools Superintendent David Healy and local state lawmakers, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Dave Wolfe spoke in opposition to the formula being proposed then: