MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. – Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed spending plan has nearly 200 school districts across the state losing $155 million in aid. Assemblyman Brian Bergen, who represents parts of Morris and Somerset counties as part of the 25th legislative district, which is losing more than $3.7 million, wants the governor to fully fund schools.
“Only 64 percent of schools are getting increases, the rest will remain flat or continue to lose millions as part of a failed school funding formula that is hurting districts across the state,” said Bergen (R-Morris). “Among the towns I represent, there are five school districts facing a cut of more than $3.7 million and this is on top of what they lost last year.”
For the 2019/2020 school year, Roxbury lost more than $6 million, Randolph $5.3 million and Washington Township $5 million. This year, Roxbury is facing a loss of more than $1.55 million, Randolph $1.15 million and Washington Township could lose more than $900,000. In addition, two other schools in the district, Rockaway and West Morris Regional, are looking at 3 and 2 percent funding decreases respectively.
“The governor is increasing this year’s budget by over 5 percent, adding billions of dollars but still shortchanging schools by $1.2 billion,” said Bergen. “The governor is paying for pet projects instead of investing in our children’s education. The seven-year school funding plan the governor signed into law was supposed to fully fund schools, but it has just picked big winners and big losers.”
Murphy’s $41 billion budget calls for an increase in education spending; however, K through 12 school districts will be underfunded by $1.2 billion. Schools are saying that Murphy’s proposed $50 million in emergency funds for the districts suffering cuts will come too late because their budgets are finalized before the end of the school year.
“If the governor really truly believes an educated workforce is an asset, he should be fully funding our children’s education,” said Bergen. “I stand up for our schools and our children. They deserve to be fully funded, because every child deserves a quality education.”