In response to the loss of 240 staff positions at Toms River Regional Schools, Senator Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano point to years of cuts to state education aid which lead to the difficult decision by the Toms River Board of Education. The legislators blame Governor Murphy’s budget proposals and lack of transparency which disproportionately funnels millions of dollars of state aid into other school districts in urban areas of the state.
The Toms River Regional District is laying off 240 workers and Senator Holzapfel and Assemblymen McGuckin and Catalano blame Governor Murphy for years of one-sided school funding. (Pixabay)
“This is another devastating blow for the school district,” said Senator Holzapfel. “Toms River Regional has been fighting for years to maintain an elite level of education for their students and create a secure working environment for their staff, while being gutted by the Administration’s funding cuts. Now they must lay off hundreds of staff positions because our Governor is more interested in creating programs such as ‘Baby Bonds’ for newborns. The focus should be on our children currently enrolled in public education, not infants.”
One of the most glaring proposals in the Governor’s budget would provide $1,000 state-financed bond for most babies born in 2021 to narrow the wealth gap. These ‘Baby Bonds’ will cost the State $80 million a year.
The lawmakers have repeatedly called on Governor Murphy to make common sense adjustments to his budget to alleviate the devastating funding cuts to many school districts. However, those requests were ignored by the Administration and deeper cuts to aid followed in the Governor’s most recent budget proposal.
“Governor Murphy could have stopped the bleeding before it got to this point. We consistently requested that the Governor and the Legislature analyze the fair share issue and once and for all solve the obvious and known flaws in the school aid formula,” added Assemblyman McGuckin. “Because of the Governor’s inaction and continued favoritism of urban school districts, we are at a point where jobs are being lost and lives are directly being affected.”
From 2009 until 2020, Toms River Regional has seen an astronomical decline in state aid of more than $14 million. The Toms River Regional School District has consistently had to adjust their spending and has laid off staff in previous years because of the deep cuts to state aid.
“Instead of properly and fairly funding our public education, our Governor wants to give handouts to newborns and pre-K students,” concluded Assemblyman Catalano. “Things will only get worse for our schools and taxpayers if more money is diverted to other areas of the State. This will send a ripple effect which will send our property taxes skyrocketing, damage our property values, and hurt our children’s educational future. How can our Governor be so callous and blind to the inadequacies of our school districts?”
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