Christie releases school aid breakdown; Elizabeth wins big

Elizabeth is the big winner in the school aid sweepstakes this year, securing an additional $85 million in aid over last year’s total, according to figures released by the Christie Administration Tuesday.

The total of $356 million awarded to the city school district this year  amounts to a 31 percent increase over the total awarded Elizabeth in Fiscal Year 2011. The Passaic School District, which like Elizabeth is one of the state’s 25 so-called Abbott Districts that receive additional state aid, received the next highest bump over FY2011 at $52 million.  That represents a 30 percent increase over last year’s total of $174 million in aid.

The figures were part of the breakdown of how more than $7.6 billion in state aid will be doled out this year, released by the governor Tuesday.  According to the figures, every district in the state will receive a bump over Fiscal Year 2011 funding, with the increases ranging from $1,192 in tiny Cape May Point to Elizabeth’s $85 million.

Overall, Newark received the largest chunk of state education aid at nearly $715 million, followed by Jersey City at $417 million and Paterson at $398 million.

“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,” said Gov. Chris Christie in a statement. “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,” Christie said. “Now is the time to complement the dollars spent with real education reform to bring a focus on student learning, accountability and results.”

The state was forced to fund an additional $450 million for Abbott Districts after the Supreme Court ruled last month that the aid to the districts did not fulfill the state’s obligation.

Christie also boosted aid by an additional $150 million over the budget he presented in March as part of his line item veto of a budget passed by legislative Democrats.  The total increase over FY2011 amounts to $838 million, according to the figures released Tuesday.

Attached is a spread sheet containing a district by district breakdown of state aid.

Christie releases school aid breakdown; Elizabeth wins big