Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Providing Support to School Districts Seeing Reductions in School Funding Aid

05/14/2024

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed two bills offering flexibility and relief to school districts across New Jersey as they work to finalize their 2024-2025 school budgets. The first bill (A4161) aims to increase funding for school districts experiencing reductions in aid under S2, easing the impact of the final year of its seven-year phase-in as school districts adjust to funding levels calculated under the School Funding Reform Act.

By signing the legislation, the Governor establishes a Stabilized School Budget Aid Grant Program in the Department of Education to provide grants equal to 45 percent of a school district’s State school aid reduction for the 2024-2025 school year. The bill appropriates $44.7 million to support the program. In addition to providing supplementary state aid, the legislation allows certain districts experiencing reductions in state aid to request increases in their adjusted property tax levies above the two percent cap established under current law.

“From the onset of my Administration, we have strived to ensure every child in New Jersey receives the top-notch education that has become synonymous with our state’s public education system. Through seven budget cycles, we have never wavered on our commitment to our school communities – and that rings true today,” said Governor Murphy. “With this legislation, we are giving local school districts critical support during trying times, as difficult financial realities muddy the already complex process of adopting a balanced budget. I am pleased to provide relief to school districts facing reductions in aid and, as we look ahead, I anticipate working alongside Commissioner Dehmer to ensure our tax dollars are being used responsibly to uplift all of our students.”

“The combination of additional state aid and school district tax levy growth cap flexibility achieved by this legislation strikes a key balance: easing the transition to full funding amounts while further empowering school districts to sustain education and support programs beyond S2’s phase-in schedule,” said Kevin Dehmer, Acting Commissioner of Education. “For our part, the Department is committed to working with districts on finalizing their budget plans for next school year; for their part, this legislation provides districts additional revenue sources to further help transition to sustainable spending plans that meet the needs of all students. I commend the Governor and the Legislature for their commitment to this impactful legislation.”

“This law will help local school districts experiencing funding gaps bring more stability to their finances,” said Senate President Nick Scutari. “It provides the resources and the means needed by them to support a quality education. We have some of the best public schools in the country and we are committed to working with all of them to maintain that standard of excellence for the benefit of educators, students and their local communities.”

“We have increased state aid to record levels for our best-in-the-nation public schools,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “This legislation will provide more flexibility for local districts to plan for the future while we maintain our commitment to full funding for education. It will also offer immediate support to mitigate job losses and cuts to programs due to fluctuations in the funding formula.”

“This supplemental funding ensures a more solid footing for our students to thrive, and eases the property tax burden on our seniors and residents,” said Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald. “New Jersey’s national ranking for its education is a testament to our unwavering commitment to our students. We will continue to staunchly advocate for our communities and schools to maintain the standard of excellence that has distinguished us as a leader in providing quality education.”

“I fully support the state’s school funding formula, but I recognize that there are a few anomalies that impact a number of districts in New Jersey,” said Senator Paul Sarlo, Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “This law is a remedy that will help them address their immediate funding needs. It’s beneficial for the school systems and local taxpayers.”

Sponsors of A4161 include Senators Andrew Zwicker and Vin Gopal and Assembly members Roy Freiman, Mitchelle Drulis, Pamela Lampitt and Andrea Katz.

“Over 140 districts are experiencing drastic state aid reductions that would require them to make rash cuts to student programs and jobs,” said Senator Andrew Zwicker. “Our public schools are the best in the nation. We cannot let them fall into disarray by asking districts to scale back spending year after year. This program is a stopgap that will provide relief to districts for the upcoming school year as we continue to work to find a stable long-term school funding solution.”

“The partial restoration of aid to eligible schools will provide districts some cushion as we continue our transition under the school funding reform act known as S-2,” said Senator Vin Gopal, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “We have heard testimony from teachers, students, and parents of these cuts’ devastating impact on their districts for months. This move will give additional support and sustain our standard of delivering high-quality public education.”

“We know that even in the midst of unprecedented school aid and investment in education, many districts are losing state aid,” said Assemblyman Roy Freiman. “This bill recognizes the need to act swiftly, as some school districts are already working on budgetary decisions. Delays in our response could result in devastating staff cuts being implemented that could otherwise be avoided.”

“This legislation represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring districts have the funding they need to make smart decisions on the local level,” said Assemblywoman Mitchelle Drulis. “We must continue to invest in the future of New Jersey families, particularly in the education of our children, ensuring school districts can plan future budgets without compromising the quality of education they deliver.”

“This measure will give tools to districts that are struggling with funding, helping them to retain critical teachers and staff,” said Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “With this signing, these districts will have a better capacity to address challenges at the local level and to make the best decisions for their communities.”

“By investing in our schools we are investing in our future, giving each child access to quality education that will provide a solid foundation for their life ahead,” said Assemblywoman Andrea Katz. “With this bill, we can assist school districts and retain skilled educators and staff, ensuring they possess the necessary resources and support to deliver top-tier education while saving property taxpayers money.”

The second bill (A4059) authorizes the Commissioner of Education to permit certain school districts experiencing a reduction in state aid to submit budgets no later than five days following the enactment of the FY2025 appropriations act.

Sponsors of A4059 include Senator James Beach and Assembly members Pamela Lampitt, Sterley Stanley and Andrea Katz.

“Several districts are facing double-digit percentage state funding cuts compared to last year, and we have a responsibility to give them time to adjust,” said Senator James Beach. “As the Legislature seeks to identify additional aid for these districts through the annual budget process, it is only fair that we provide additional time for them to submit their budgets, so they can be finalized with complete information.”

“When it comes to our children, it is essential that we continue to provide our schools with all of the tools necessary in order to sustain the excellence that has become the hallmark of what it means to be educated here in the State of New Jersey,” said Assemblyman Sterley Stanley. “This legislation will finally give school districts the flexibility they need in order to ensure that they receive support for every student enrolled on the first day of school, not just enrollment projections from the year before.”

“On behalf of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, I would like to thank Governor Murphy and the many legislators who sponsored and supported S3081/A4161 and S3002/A4059 for recognizing that the impact of the final year of implementing the school funding formula could be completely devastating for some districts, choosing to take steps to support the needs of many schools and students. This allows districts time to plan their final budgets and will help many keep teachers in the classroom, maintain reasonable class sizes, and preserve valuable programming that would otherwise have been lost,” said Karen A. Bingert, Executive Director of the NJ Principals and Supervisors Association.

“New Jersey continues to show its commitment to a quality education system for all students through its financial investments. Gov. Murphy’s signature on S3081/A4161, which appropriates $44.7 million to restore 45 percent of state aid to school districts facing cuts under the school funding formula for the 2024-25 academic year, is the latest example. This administration not only talks about how education is the key to success but backs up their words through action and funding. AFT New Jersey thanks Gov. Murphy and the Legislature for continuing to advocate for our children, our members and the communities they serve and live in,” said AFT New Jersey President Donna M. Chiera.

“We appreciate Governor Murphy’s support for maintaining programs and services in school districts,” said Richard Bozza, Executive Director of the NJ Association of School Administrators.

“The NJ Association of School Business Officials is happy that the legislative package S3081/A4161 and S3002/A4059 allowing districts to revise their budgets to reflect the additional funding for fiscal year 2024-25 has been signed by Governor Murphy. This additional funding and the flexibility permitted will help districts to address staffing issues and other problems created by current funding shortfalls.  We look forward to continue working with the administration to find more permanent solutions to providing the necessary resources for our public schools,” said Susan Young, Executive Director of the NJ Association of School Business Officials.

“Save Our Schools NJ thanks the Legislature, particularly Sen. Zwicker for his tireless efforts to bring funding to school districts facing deep cuts by sponsoring S3081. We also thank Governor Murphy for recognizing the urgency of need by signing this bill so quickly. All students in New Jersey deserve to attend schools that are well-resourced. This bill is a step in the right direction,” said Julie Larrea Borst, Executive Director of Save Our Schools NJ Community Organizing.

“The New Jersey School Boards Association thanks Governor Murphy, Senate President Scutari, Speaker Coughlin and the Legislature for approving this essential measure, which provides school districts across the state with tools and resources to maintain critical staff, programs and services. The school aid restorations and property tax cap flexibility provided under A-4161/S-3081 will help these districts provide their students with the high-quality education they deserve. We would particularly like to extend our gratitude to the lead sponsors – Senators Zwicker and Gopal, Assemblyman Freiman, and Assemblywomen Drulis, Lampitt and Katz – for their leadership on this issue and their steadfast commitment to the state’s public school students. While this relief is certainly welcome, we recognize that even more work lies ahead, and we must remain laser focused on the matter of how we fund our schools. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Murphy administration and the Legislature as they continue to evaluate the school funding formula to make necessary adjustments to guarantee ALL of New Jersey’s  students receive a thorough and efficient education,” said Timothy Purnell, Executive Director of the New Jersey School Boards Association.

In his signing statement for A4161, the Governor directs the Commissioner of Education to conduct a comprehensive review assessing the responsible utilization of the additional funding by school districts. Click here to view the signing statement for A4161.

A signing statement on A4059 clarifies that state aid notices were distributed to school districts in February 2024, rather than March 2024. Click here to view the signing statement for A4059.

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13 responses to “Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Providing Support to School Districts Seeing Reductions in School Funding Aid”

  1. That’s all you do Murphy is raise are taxes close all the schools down so we don’t pay for school taxes no more home school the kids better education at home instead of what there leaving today wake up people

  2. This article is a multitude of generous accolades given to legislators by many of their fellow contemporaries. For NJ homeowners, what does this exactly mean?
    The signing of legislation provides support to school districts seeing reduction in school funding aid, as the district’s adjust to the end of the seven year phase (C2), finalizing a fully funded formula. A promise Governor Murphy made when elected.
    Much like last years stabilization fund, which gave school districts back approximately 65 % of what was cut from their budgets, this legislation is another stop gap measure for one year (24-25), giving up to 45% relief through a grant program. The Governor is “directing the Commissioner of Education to conduct a comprehensive review assessing the responsible utilization of the additional funding by school districts.” Another words, the Commissioner will oversee how the grant money is spent. An additional funding source will come from property taxes. It will allow districts to lift the 2 % cap on property taxes- without public knowledge- up to 9.9%? Is my assessment of this article correct? Will school districts each year need to anticipate cuts, or will our new Commissioner of Education along with humble legislators come up with a flawless fully funded formula that works?

  3. Just gave tax assessor what I thought of Manchester’s reassessment. Taxes continually going up and no relief in site. School budgets municipal county state and federal taxes too high period. Seniors cannot afford nj home rule Merry go round any more. Cut the budgets and base services on real need not building small towns into personal fiefdoms. Regonialize and consolidate services and reevaluate yearly eliminating waste and duplication. Streamline departments and reduce spending. Everyone has to balance their home budget so why can’t politicians do the same. Stop spending more than you take in. The taxpayers have had it!!!

  4. Time to disconnect education taxes from property taxes; especially when the President of the NJEA (who is also the Mayor of Montclair) earns $2 MILLION/YR. at taxpayers’ expense. Not even the teachers know he’s making this excessive salary for the teachers’ union. School taxes must be connected to income and sales taxes, as it was originally planned. This way, everyone pays their “fair share”.

    And, where is the $10,000 property tax cut for New Jersey seniors that was promised by the Democrat-controlled Legislature through legislation called the STAYNJ ACT???? Oh, I remember. They said it wouldn’t be enacted until 2026–after Gov. Phil KNUCKLEHEAD has left office, and after the next election cycle. According to NJ economists, there won’t be enough money in the budget to make these senior property tax cuts viable.

    Well, maybe we can cut the wasted, excessive taxes paying $5 BILLION/YR. for illegal aliens in this state obtaining free entitlements like free healthcare (which some hospitals are going out of business because of it), free education, free legal services, free housing, free food stamps, free cash ($6,000/month/person). Time for New Jerseyans to wake up to this illegal alien discrimination against us.

  5. In addition to everyone congratulating each other , almost in unison is the claim that New Jersey schools are “best in the nation.” For whom?
    New Jersey is the sixth most segregated school system in the nation with a large academic inequality gap between low-income districts and those districts better off, that grows each school year. New Jersey’s diversity is what makes us the envy of the nation, but it comes at a price. Yet, more money can not always be the answer. “Time to think outside of the box” is the battle cry the new Commissioner of Education stated would be his leadership style. That time has come.

  6. How does this help the districts that has lost so much money. It gives back 45% which is not enough. So now the taxpayers have to make up the difference. Definitely not fair to seniors. Our taxes are going up 9.9% but our ss increase is 2.7%. That does not add up. The governor says he is here for our students and seniors. I don’t see him helping either.
    How about cutting some of the administrative staff. Whenever there is budget cuts it’s always the Indians being laid off. To many chiefs and not enough Indians.

  7. The NJ state lottery, one of the most popular in America, was supposed to help fund education in NJ, does it and if so, how much…

  8. Why don’t you put a cap on Lot rent for retired people who live in mobile homes. Soon I won’t be able to stay in my mobile home. I already pay $ 800.00 a month. No one will buy my mobile home because they won’t be able to pay a mortgage and a lot rent the size of a mortgage payment. Seniors that live on a fixed income should be capped because I and many seniors have no where else to live out our senior years!!!!

  9. Not All of These Schools Deserve the Funding!

    They’d Better Make Sure Hamilton Two Public Schools Don’t See A Dime. Filled With Rotten, Disgusting Ignorant Principal’s, Vice Principal Entitled Nobodies, Teachers and Faculty Office WORKERS That are Well Over privileged, Posing for the day, Fake ,Acting Like No One Can Tell, Not to mention wasting the tax dollars we pay to do what they want sit around and do what they want with Our Children! CHEAP CHEAP NJ TAKE THAT MONEY AND BUY BETTER FOCUSED TEACHERS.

  10. Yea……. Throw more money at a system already plagued with fraud and waste. Dumborats just paying off their voting base with OUR money.

    It’s WAY past time to end the public education system and give vouchers for private schools. Get the political freeloaders out of the education system and let the private sector compete for those dollars. You will see a turnaround in student performance and participation. The kids that want to Learn and excel will thrive and the dregs who want to disrupt classes and other students will be kicked to the curb and their deadbeat parents can worry about them on their time.

  11. So the schools are losing funding because they’re going woke teaching things to children they shouldn’t be so they lose their funding and then this leftist nut bag gives them more of our tax money from other places. These people are absolute criminals and all need to go to f****** jail

  12. Why should seniors have to pay a school tax? When we don’t have children in schoolet’s do what Florida does.

  13. School taxes are about 65% of your property tax bill. The average cost of schooling 1 kid is $17,000. What this legislation will do is force the towns affected by the reduction in school aid is make the town’s residents pickup the costs of their schools. I have no kids but don’t expect to avoid the costs to support the schools-I have a neighbor who has 5 kids and doesn’t kick in extra to help fund the school system costs. I would like to see the 1st kid free and each additional kid add 25% added to their property tax bill-nothing like a little skin in the game to help limit population. Anyone with kids crying about property taxes clearly doesn’t recognize that their kids have a direct effect on school budgets and property taxes. As far as attacking the teachers, consider the raw material being sent to the schools for teaching course curriculums and take away the kid’s phones. Give them a choice of a shovel or a slide rule and that should refocus their attention to school work.

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