NEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
Press Release: For Immediate Release
Voters Encouraged to Pass School Budgets on April 27
TRENTON, N.J. — March 29, 2011 — School districts throughout New Jersey are once again turning to taxpayers in the upcoming election to make up for lapses in state aid to fund programs and staff, according to the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA). The NJASA encourages voters to pass those budgets on April 27, 2011, to avoid additional “deep hits” to education.
“A year after the dramatic cut in state aid, school districts throughout New Jersey are still struggling to make ends meet,” states Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the NJASA. “A lot of districts will try to hold the budgets flat but that will be impossible as costs rise. Even the price of fuel can put districts in the difficult place of having to find another area to cut. Both programs and personnel are at risk.”
This year, districts can expect up to a 1 percent increase in state funding, or $250 million. This increase does not make up for the $820 million taken out of last year’s budget.
Poorer districts pay the ultimate price. They have the bulk of their budgets paid by the state and so are losing the greatest dollar amounts. Among the state’s 39 poorest districts, the average cut over two years was approximately $15 million.
The funding of public schools varies from state to state and within a state by district. In New Jersey, the State Board of Education, led by the commissioner of education, has responsibility to administer the intent of state laws, rules and regulations for the 2,500 public schools serving New Jersey’s 1.38 million public school students. The state provides varying amounts of support based on a community’s wealth, but local taxes are the source for the majority of the funding.
Unlike other municipal budgets, school budgets come before voters each year. In 2010, less than half of the budgets were passed.
“The difficult decisions are still being made at the local level,” Bozza says. “The state has effectively said, ‘It’s your problem.’ That means we either have to fund schools through local budgets or continue to decrease staff and budgets.”
Voting on budgets will take place statewide on April 27, 2011. Defeated budgets are not presented again. Municipal governments will traditionally strike or reduce programs or services if budgets are not passed.
About NJASA: The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of Chief Education Officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The Association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both an educational and an administrative perspective. The NJASA’s goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey’s children.
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