Without question one of the biggest issues facing both the Toms River Regional and Brick School districts is the reduction in state aid which is forcing both to consider drastic cuts for the next school year and beyond.

Those cuts could be devastating and basically everything is on the table including the elimination of some if not all extra-curricular activities which certainly has gotten the attention of many in the Toms River District where they have openly said athletics could be impacted.

Another potential cut there is full-day kindergarten which was only implemented about five years ago.

The frustration for school officials in both districts is the funding formula itself which has taken away money from them and given it to others.  Both have repeatedly asked the State Department of Education to explain the formula which appears to be a bit of “rob Peter to pay Paul.”

What they have received from their numerous inquiries is nothing, despite repeated attempts to simply find out how the numbers are determined.  Doesn’t seem to be an unusual request when you’re trying to find out how to replace millions of dollars.

While the enrollment of both Toms River and Brick has dropped they insist their situation is a bit different than others because of the loss of tax ratables due to Superstorm Sandy as neither district has fully recovered and maybe never will.  On top of that they have to either find a pot of gold (there isn’t one) or look at a host of options that will result in program and staff cuts which at the least will increase class sizes and clearly impact the education students receive.

What’s probably most frustrating to many in the Toms River District is they are being penalized for running their school system in a very cost-efficient manner for years, well below what the state normally suggests on a cost-per pupil basis.  Meanwhile they watch the state hand millions of dollars in loans and aid to other districts who repeatedly have been cited for mismanagement and wonder why.

As parents with children in the district learn of what could be a bleak future they are not sitting by and this Tuesday will let alleged “leaders” in Trenton know they want and expect help.  They have organized a rally outside the office of Governor Murphy with the caravan to meet at High School North at 9 a.m. where with an escort from the Toms River Police Department they will head to the state capital.

You of course can go directly to the Governor’s office at 225 West State Street and join the rally from 10 a.m. to noon.

Now that he’s helped hire a football coach at Rutgers maybe he can help save high school athletics from the chopping block.

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