Increase in Funding to “Below Adequacy” Districts Is a Boon to Local Schools
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande said that newly released school aid figures from the Department of Education show that 11 of the 21 Monmouth County school district in the 11th Legislative District will receive $1,868,604 in additional aid in Fiscal Year 2014 — and no school districts will lose aid.
If the Governor’s proposed budget is approved, a total of $231,515,472 in school aid will be distributed to school districts within the legislative district next year.
Among those school districts that would receive increased aid are Freehold Borough and Red Bank Borough, which both are more than 30% below the State’s adequacy standard. The expected funding increase is the result of advocacy by Beck, Angelini and Casagrande that resulted in a new line item in the Department of Education’s budget for “Under Adequacy Districts.”
This line item provides additional dollars and is tiered so that the further below adequacy a district is, the more aid they will be given to close the gap. This effort will be phased in over multiple years and will benefit 131 below adequacy school districts statewide in Fiscal Year 2014.
Freehold Borough will receive an additional $435,142, a 4.7% increase from last year, and Red Bank Boro will receive an additional $339,218, a 12.9% increase.
“We are happy that many of our schools will receive additional dollars, and in particular that Freehold Borough and Red Bank will benefit from the new ‘Under Adequacy’ line item. For those two districts in particular, their enrollment growth has forced them to make some very difficult decisions — programs were cut, class sizes grew and some classes were held in cafeterias just to work around tight budget constraints. The increased funding is a start and allows these school districts some breathing room.”