The Jersey City Board of Education would get $33,701,019 back from the state as part of a new school funding bill that has the backing of Gov. Phil Murphy (D).
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Bill S-3732 would inject $102,784,455 across dozens of district throughout New Jersey after the state budget came out earlier this month, which delivered a $51,062,150 aid cut to the Jersey City Public Schools.
The measure is sponsored by state Senators Vin Gopal (D-11) and Andrew Zwicker, along with Assemblyman Roy Freiman (both D-16), and the governor has signaled he is on board, as Politico’s Daniel Han first noted on Twitter.
“My administration remains committed to providing New Jersey students with a world-class education, which is why we continue to dedicate historic levels of aid for our schools in each year’s budget,” Murphy said in a joint statement.
“As we work towards ensuring equitable access to the high-quality education every student deserves, this supplemental funding will support districts in adjusting to changes in aid under our state’s school funding formula. I thank our legislative partners for their collaboration in reaching this agreement on behalf of educators, students, and their communities in the upcoming school year.”
Prior to this announcement, the Jersey City BOE had already revealed a preliminary budget of $1,001,231,825 – the largest it’s ever been – that would’ve come with a modest tax decrease of about $51 per household valued at $470,000.
This was a change of pace after the BOE had approved budgets with tax hikes the past few years, though the district was able to recoup $89,072,074 from the New Jersey Department of Education due to a provision in the American Rescue Plan back in September.
“Our schools have come under tremendous pressures over the past three years due to the pandemic, ranging from uncertainty about resources, learning recovery and a growing teacher shortage,” added Gopal.
“Now is not the time for more uncertainty, nor the time for districts to be asked to do with less at the precise moment they are trying to recover some sense of normalcy. This restoration of funding will ease some of those pressures, smooth out remaining transitions, and help districts set course on a bolder, brighter future.”
If the bill becomes a law, which already appears to be a foregone conclusion, the Hoboken BOE, whose preliminary $74,875,799 budget comes with an 8.47 percent tax hike, would also be a big winner: receiving $142,215 from the state after initially losing $124,773.
Other local districts that would benefit are the Hudson County Schools of Technology (+ $297,779), the North Bergen BOE (+ $780,065, net of -$401,851), and the Weehawken BOE (+ $38,065, net of -$19,609).
“These cuts would have been devastating to our schools, and I am grateful that we were able to come up with a solution to ensure the quality of education of all New Jersey students is not compromised,” noted Zwicker.
“While in office, I have fought for sound, responsible budget policies, and they’re paying off-we now have the ability to deliver quality services to New Jersey families and focus on lowering property taxes. This legislation represents that commitment, and I am proud to sponsor it,” stated Freiman.
The Jersey City BOE will present their preliminary $1 billion budget at a caucus meeting at Martin Luther King, Jr. school, also known as P.S. No. 11, at 886 Bergen Ave. at 6 p.m. tomorrow.