$7.82B in school aid to districts

TRENTON – The state, as Gov. Christie promised in his budget address this week, is proposing more money for the schools.

The counties will receive a total of $7.82 billion in K-8 aid, up $139 million, or 1.8 percent.

The counties receiving the largest percentage increase are Hunterdon (10%), from $40.5 million to $44.5 million; Somerset (9.7%), $98.6 million to $108 million; and Morris (9.1%), $131 million to $143 million.

Only three counties are scheduled to see a decrease.  Sussex is slated to receive a 3.3 percent cut, from $108 million to $105 million; Cumberland (-0.3%), from $337 million to $336 million; and Cape May (-0.1%), from $61.27 million to $61.22 million.

Preschool aid

The state proposes to give $633 million in preschool aid to various districts around the state.

The urban centers are scheduled to receive sizeable portions.

For example, Newark is projected to receive $85.9 million; Jersey City $61.2 million; Elizabeth $48 million; Paterson $46.7 million; Camden City $27.5 million; Trenton $27.4 million; and Union City $26 million.

Pros and cons

Gov. Christie touted the aid as the highest level in state history.

“In addition to increasing overall spending on education to the highest levels in state history, we can and will go further to implement common sense ways that will make every education dollar count,” he said in a release. “If we truly want to ensure that all students, regardless of zip code, graduate from high school ready for college and career, the money needs to follow the child.”

However, not all were happy. 

Republican lawmakers Sen. Steve Oroho and Assembly members Alison Littell McHose and Gary Chiusano said their counties – Sussex, Warren and Morris – are not receiving their fair share.

“Dozens of our local school districts are now among about 185 suburban and rural districts shortchanged from receiving basic aid, leaving them faced with potential increases in already too costly property taxes,” Oroho said in a release.

The trio said they would work in this legislative session for a fairer funding formula that they said does not shortchange suburban and rural areas.