Governor’s Budget Axe Cuts Deep For Local School Districts

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STATE – Local school districts found out just how much state aid they would lose under Gov. Chris Christie’s budget proposal on Thursday. Some suburban districts would see their aid eliminated entirely, while urban districts stand to be the biggest losers in pure dollar value.

Elizabeth would lose $14 million; Edison, $9.6 million; Woodbridge, $8.8 million; New Brunswick, $8.3 million.

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“What he has done to Woodbridge is criminal,” said Woodbridge Superintendent John Crowe. “This is more than twice than what was in our worst-case scenario.”

Berkeley Heights, Cranbury, New Providence, Springfield and Summit would see their state aid wiped out entirely. Clark and Mountainside would each receive less than $100,000.

Perth Amboy stands to lose $5.7 million in aid. “It’s a significant loss,” Perth Amboy Superintendent John Rodecker said.

“Everything that we’ve been spending to try to build up, to reach parity with other districts, its going to be lost,” he said. “I think (the governor) should have said these numbers are going to result in people losing their jobs. That’s exactly what’s going to happen statewide.”

The cuts are part of Christie’s effort to close a $10.7 billion deficit in the state budget. The governor blamed the previous administration for using $1 billion in federal stimulus money to fund state school aid last year; that money is no longer available.

School districts are not allowed to raise taxes more than four percent unless they are granted a special waiver by the county superintendent. Christie is asking lawmakers for a stricter 2.5 percent cap. The governor also proposed changes to the state’s collective bargaining laws, but those changes are not likely to help much in the upcoming budget year.

School Aid Totals By County [PDF format]
School Aid Totals By District [PDF format]
Compare School District Aid Within A County


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