New Jersey's 11th Legislative District

Senator Jennifer Beck

Senator Jennifer Beck

Beck Again Calls for School Funding Relief for High Enrollment Growth Districts

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Warns of Unintended Consequences of Eliminating Adjustment Aid

Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) continued her call for school funding relief to school districts with large enrollment growth that are underfunded by the State. At the Senate Budget Committee’s hearing today with the Department of Education, Beck also urged caution at the suggestion that all adjustment aid should be eliminated as a potential solution for school funding reform.

Beck noted that 157 of the 181 districts receiving adjustment aid are underfunded by the State and 97 overtax residents locally. The FY 2018 budget proposal includes a recommended appropriation of $566 million for adjustment aid.

Sen. Jennifer Beck with families from Freehold Borough at today’s Senate Budget Committee meeting. Parents and school officials from thirteen underfunded school districts attended the hearing, including: Freehold Borough, Red Bank, Monroe Township, Kingsway Regional, Newton, Chesterfield, Robbinsville, Delran, Paulsboro, Rahway, Swedesboro-Woolwich, Cherry Hill School District, and Deptford Township Public Schools. (SenateNJ.com)

“We have a large number of school districts that already overtax their residents who would be hurt even more by the abrupt removal of adjustment aid as some have suggested we should do,” said Beck. “Those districts would be forced to raise property taxes even higher to absorb such a loss of funding.”

Currently, 421 of the 591 districts receiving State aid overpay in local property taxes for their schools. Among these are school districts with enrollment growth that the State has underfunded by millions, including Freehold Borough which is underfunded by $13 million and Chesterfield Township.

This exemplifies the challenge of addressing the 181 adjustment aid districts: many are both overtaxed locally and underfunded by the State. Additionally, adjustment aid makes up the vast majority of the aid received for many districts, like Weehawken, Gloucester City, and Wildwood City.

Attached is a spreadsheet compiled by the Office of Legislative Services depicting all school districts organized by the amount of adjustment aid as a portion of their State aid.

“My recommendation as a starting point for discussion is to take State aid from the 46 districts that are overfunded by the State according to the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA),” Beck said. “Those funds should be shifted to underfunded districts.”

“The Legislature needs to address the school funding disparity in this budget cycle, but we also must be cautious when considering the complexities of redistributing adjustment aid,” Beck added. “One thing that is certain is that our most underfunded districts cannot wait any longer for relief.”

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