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How will Gov. Murphy’s budget affect South Jersey schools?

How will Gov. Murphy’s budget affect South Jersey schools?

2018-19 proposed school aid k012

Gov. Phil Murphy's 2018-19 K-12 proposed state school aid excluding debt service aid. Source: New Jersey Department of Education

No school district in New Jersey will receive less aid than last year, and many will see an increase under Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed 2018-19 school aid plan released earlier this month.

Schools in The Press of Atlantic City’s coverage area, on average, will receive some of the lowest increases, according to county aid totals.

While Murphy has proposed a 3.1 percent increase for Atlantic County schools in his first budget, schools in Cumberland, Cape May and Ocean counties each would receive less than 2 percent more in aid. The state average was 3.5 percent, with the largest bump going to Union County.

Locally, Egg Harbor Township and Bridgeton will see the largest increase in aid at $2.1 million and $3.9 million, respectively. The majority of Bridgeton’s aid increase is in the category of adequacy aid, which is aid that fills in the gap for districts considered spending less than what is adequate and cannot raise those funds without exceeding the 2 percent cap.

Egg Harbor Township Board of Education President Pete Castellano said that this year’s increase coupled with last year’s — at $1.5 million — is helping the district keep its current programs with a smaller than normal tax increase.

“Our team lobbied hard for the increase, and we are happy to be getting it. However, the formula calls for us to be receiving $67 million in state aid. This increases our number from the flat $40 million to $43.5 million. Still $23.5 million short,” Castellano said.

He said that last year the district had to eliminate 41 positions to keep the budget at the 2 percent cap. This year, the board is anticipating a 2.5-cent tax increase, which is the lowest increase in four years.

“Our spending per student is among the lowest in the state and the area, and our budget remained at $8 million bellow state adequacy. This year’s increase is a good start toward full funding, but only allows us to maintain what we have,” Castellano said.

Both Hammonton and Atlantic City will see an additional $1.2 million in aid over last year.

Several area districts are not receiving any increase in aid, including Buena Regional, Port Republic, Cape May City, Dennis Township, Lower Cape May Regional, Commercial Township and Downe Township.

Vineland, which last year lost $2 million in aid, will see a slight bump of $417,121. Vineland school business administrator Helen Haley said that the district is proposing to apply the additional aid toward appropriations, but it is still operating well below the aid it was originally supposed to receive.

“This additional aid is not exactly an increase from last year because we were one of the districts that received a reduction in state aid in July 2017,” Haley said.

Another district that lost thousands in last year’s budget, Pleasantville, will see an additional $236,933 in aid.

Of $14.9 billion in proposed state support for schools, the governor has proposed a large increase in preschool funding. Under Murphy’s plan, districts that currently operate a state-supported preschool program will see an increase of nearly $33 million in per-pupil funding, and preschool expansions that were established this year will be made permanent. The budget includes $25 million more in preschool expansion aid for the development of new programs to serve more than 3,500 children.

Murphy hopes his budget, which increases formula aid by $283.6 million, will be a step toward fulfilling the state’s school-funding obligation.

“Even with these investments, we know our current school funding formula, enacted in 2008, needs to be modernized, and I ask you to work with me to make these changes so we can reach this goal of full, fair funding by the 2021-22 school year,” Murphy told legislators during his budget address March 13.

Murphy has proposed eliminating aid categories not originally included in the school funding formula that were created over the past several years. His proposed budget reallocates the money back to the same districts through the school funding formula.

The budget also proposes a $2 million grant program to help high schools implement college-level computer science courses and a $66 million increase in school security aid. Nonpublic schools also will receive $75 per student in school security funding.

Proposed preschool aid 2018-19 school year

Gov. Phil Murphy's proposed preschool aid for the 2018-19 school year.

Field 1 Field 2 Field 3
County District Preschool Aid
Hunterdon High Bridge Boro 6,600
Salem Upper Pittsgrove Twp 16,500
Camden Chesilhurst 19,848
Burlington New Hanover Twp 23,868
Ocean Tuckerton Boro 32,963
Salem Woodstown-Pilesgrove Reg 33,000
Ocean Eagleswood Twp 33,572
Camden Berlin Twp 35,163
Camden Magnolia Boro 36,063
Bergen Edgewater Boro 36,414
Cape May North Wildwood City 40,122
Camden Merchantville Boro 43,288
Hudson East Newark Boro 46,541
Salem Quinton Twp 48,300
Mercer Princeton 49,500
Union Scotch Plains-Fanwood Reg 49,500
Gloucester Elk Twp 50,688
Middlesex South Plainfield Boro 52,800
Salem Mannington Twp 52,950
Essex South Orange-Maplewood 59,400
Atlantic Weymouth Twp 60,060
Camden Clementon Boro 62,125
Camden Brooklawn Boro 62,700
Atlantic Folsom Boro 63,096
Camden Woodlynne Boro 70,206
Gloucester Westville Boro 74,703
Camden Lawnside Boro 78,696
Cape May Cape May City 90,582
Bergen Little Ferry Boro 92,400
Ocean Seaside Heights Boro 99,328
Burlington Edgewater Park Twp 100,240
Camden Somerdale Boro 101,110
Atlantic Galloway Twp 102,300
Gloucester National Park Boro 110,256
Atlantic Brigantine City 113,715
Bergen Fairview Boro 124,908
Mercer Lawrence Twp 132,000
Ocean Ocean Gate Boro 138,400
Camden Pine Hill Boro 152,532
Hudson Guttenberg Town 161,058
Gloucester Paulsboro Boro 179,170
Cumberland Maurice River Twp 183,901
Cumberland Deerfield Twp 203,056
Passaic Prospect Park Boro 212,175
Monmouth Freehold Boro 213,435
Ocean Stafford Twp 224,400
Morris Morris School District 234,300
Atlantic Somers Point City 238,419
Monmouth Belmar Boro 253,136
Burlington Beverly City 256,200
Atlantic Mullica Twp 259,830
Cumberland Lawrence Twp 265,275
Monmouth Highlands Boro 271,320
Bergen Cliffside Park Boro 274,400
Middlesex Highland Park Boro 282,976
Cumberland Commercial Twp 303,769
Cape May Lower Twp 313,908
Gloucester Clayton Boro 322,140
Monmouth Bradley Beach Boro 335,920
Morris Dover Town 342,177
Hudson Kearny Town 356,928
Atlantic Egg Harbor City 360,300
Atlantic Hammonton Town 390,383
Atlantic Buena Regional 433,960
Morris Wharton Boro 438,921
Middlesex Piscataway Twp 442,200
Cumberland Upper Deerfield Twp 452,620
Monmouth Union Beach 478,040
Hudson Weehawken Twp 494,084
Gloucester Glassboro 495,680
Bergen Lodi Borough 508,530
Cumberland Downe Twp 538,300
Atlantic Hamilton Twp 550,312
Camden Pennsauken Twp 581,580
Union Roselle Boro 589,254
Gloucester Logan Twp 654,940
Passaic Haledon Boro 654,942
Ocean Lakehurst Boro 657,254
Monmouth Keyport Boro 684,760
Cape May Woodbine Boro 685,440
Burlington Riverside Twp 693,900
Salem Penns Grv-Carney'S Pt Reg 699,546
Somerset Bound Brook Boro 719,882
Middlesex South Amboy City 720,738
Atlantic Ventnor City 755,859
Cape May Wildwood Crest Boro 758,880
Cape May Middle Twp 786,520
Camden Winslow Twp 825,815
Somerset Somerville Boro 846,846
Cape May Wildwood City 1,003,680
Middlesex Jamesburg Boro 1,030,239
Camden Bellmawr Boro 1,111,086
Camden Lindenwold Boro 1,223,743
Cumberland Fairfield Twp 1,472,149
Salem Pittsgrove Twp 1,558,486
Gloucester Woodbury City 1,586,728
Bergen Hackensack City 1,604,781
Ocean Lakewood Twp 1,981,985
Middlesex Carteret Boro 1,989,684
Salem Salem City 2,216,720
Union Hillside Twp 2,271,505
Somerset North Plainfield Boro 2,357,552
Bergen Englewood City 2,458,647
Hudson North Bergen Twp 2,611,533
Burlington Burlington City 2,710,208
Burlington Willingboro Twp 2,735,776
Monmouth Keansburg Boro 2,829,480
Union Linden City 3,223,168
Atlantic Atlantic City 3,299,360
Gloucester Deptford Twp 3,378,698
Somerset Franklin Twp 3,441,152
Hudson Bayonne City 3,443,256
Union Rahway City 3,543,085
Monmouth Red Bank Boro 3,616,325
Camden Gloucester City 3,702,268
Ocean Little Egg Harbor Twp 3,894,530
Warren Phillipsburg Town 4,471,549
Hudson Harrison Town 4,901,014
Monmouth Neptune Twp 5,297,200
Atlantic Pleasantville City 6,721,968
Burlington Pemberton Twp 7,677,850
Monmouth Asbury Park City 7,811,335
Bergen Garfield City 8,023,905
Cumberland Millville City 8,292,114
Monmouth Long Branch City 9,379,920
Cumberland Bridgeton City 9,997,325
Essex City Of Orange Twp 10,277,833
Hudson Hoboken City 12,405,474
Hudson West New York Town 14,993,322
Cumberland Vineland City 17,331,702
Essex Irvington Township 17,808,399
Essex East Orange 18,987,475
Middlesex New Brunswick City 20,285,173
Union Plainfield City 20,372,108
Middlesex Perth Amboy City 20,425,752
Passaic Passaic City 24,955,152
Hudson Union City 28,706,970
Camden Camden City 30,044,240
Mercer Trenton City 30,414,223
Union Elizabeth City 44,488,632
Passaic Paterson City 48,588,485
Hudson Jersey City 67,611,454
Essex Newark City 96,335,148

Contact: 609-272-7251 Twitter @clairelowe

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Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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