Governor Murphy Visits Cranford Schools to Underscore School Funding Increases in His Budget Plan
CRANFORD – Governor Phil Murphy today visited Cranford School District to spotlight how an additional $206 million in state K-12 aid in his proposed budget would continue moving New Jersey toward fully funding public education after years of inadequate funding from the prior administration.
“Our proposed budget includes a significant boost in school funding to continue our course to fully funding our public schools,” said Governor Murphy. “Districts like Cranford are a prime example of why we must continue working toward this goal. During the last administration, Cranford lost 77 percent of its state formula-driven school aid. But, if our budget passes, we are on track to finally close the gaping hole in school aid that the prior administration opened up and getting school districts like Cranford the resources they need.”
Cranford has been chronically underfunded by an average of approximately $3 million per year since 2008-2009, the first year of the state’s current school-funding formula, the School Funding Reform Act. Governor Murphy’s proposed spending plan for Fiscal Year 2020 would increase state K-12 aid for the district by 8.2 percent, for a total of $2,841,003. The Governor’s budget for this current school year, FY 2019, increased state K-12 aid for Cranford by 7.7 percent.
The Governor’s proposed budget would continue the phase-in to full funding that began last year with the passage of the FY 2019 Appropriations Act. Governor Murphy’s FY2020 budget proposal includes $15.4 billion to support K-12 schools – a record level of state education aid in New Jersey history.
“This additional funding demonstrates how we are making education a top priority in New Jersey,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “Having served as a superintendent, principal and teacher, I can tell you first-hand that this kind of investment has a real impact on the education of children in our schools.”
“Cranford is very appreciative of the additional funds that we will receive this year thanks to Governor Murphy,” said Cranford Superintendent Scott Rubin. “Governor Murphy’s investment in our schools will allow us to hire two new school counselors and reduce the current ratio of students to mental health care professionals from over 700 students to one to 350 to one. We will also be able to fund professional development for our staff in to support an environment where children with disabilities and learning differences are empowered to succeed.”
The Governor’s FY 2020 budget plan advances education with an increase of more than $68 million to support existing preschools and expand new programs; that preschool funding is in addition to the increase of $206 million in direct K-12 school aid.
Career and technical education (CTE) and STEM education also would receive a boost under the Governor’s budget proposal, as the spending plan would include $2 million to continue the Computer Science for All initiative; $1.35 million to continue Liberty Science Center’s program that provides science education to schools with high numbers of at-risk students; and $400,000 for innovative early college programs like the PTECH model announced this year in which schools, community colleges, and businesses work collaboratively to help students graduate with a high-school diploma and an associate’s degree.
In addition, Governor Murphy’s FY 2020 budget plan increases extraordinary special education aid by $5 million; ensures that no charter school sees a reduction in aid levels in the coming year; and provides an additional $108.9 million to support payments that the state makes on behalf of school districts, which includes medical benefits for retired educators, Social Security contributions for teachers, and teacher pensions.