TRENTON, N.J. – Sen. Samuel Thompson and Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Rob Clifton slammed Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration for proposing cuts to schools across the state, including those represented by the lawmakers in Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties.
The lawmakers received an email from Department of Education Acting Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan outlining Murphy’s proposed state aid cuts to nine of the 17 schools they represent. The schools are among the 193 districts statewide that would receive less aid under Murphy’s budget proposal.
“In a budget filled with historically high spending levels and a huge surplus, the governor persisted with his attacks on suburban and rural school districts,” said Thompson (R-Middlesex), a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “Murphy continues to beat up on the same schools, year in and year out. While significantly increasing school funding in his budget, he is significantly decreasing funding to many other districts. This is the wrong time for that. Schools in our legislative district cannot sustain these reductions now, while they are struggling with the challenges of virtual education, increased technology demands and expenses, and planning for the safe return of students and teachers to classrooms.”
Fiscal Year 2022 state funding for schools in Legislative District 12 would be chopped by more than $18.6 million. Plumsted Township School District in Ocean County and Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District in Monmouth County are both facing funding cuts by about 20 percent next year. Freehold Regional High School District in Monmouth County and Old Bridge Township School District in Middlesex County would lose more than $6 million in funding, and Jackson School District in Ocean County would be cut by more than $4.2 million. Nine of the 17 schools in Legislative District 12 are facing cuts between 6.8 and 20.8 percent.
“The Murphy administration talks about investing in education like never before, but one third of all the schools in the state, including more than half the schools we represent, are facing losses totaling millions of dollars,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “Murphy is on an election year tour, touting his ‘investment in education’ by visiting schools slated to get more aid, but they would only get that funding at the expense of other schools. He needs to visit the districts that are losing funding. He needs to hear our concerns, and listen to the parents, teachers, students, and administrators to truly understand how the cuts are going to significantly and negatively impact learning following a year of unprecedented hardships and learning losses.”
“Our school districts cannot afford to lose this amount of funding. Slashing aid will make our teachers’ jobs more difficult and put even more pressure on students,” said Clifton (R-Monmouth). “This budget proposal would seriously hamper efforts to effectively serve our students. In a budget that increases state spending by $4.5 billion and creates almost $100 million in new programs, we clearly have the means to avoid deep cuts in school funding. Unfortunately, this governor’s priorities seem to be elsewhere.”
The governor’s proposed budget includes $50 million to help school districts adjust to cuts under the school aid formula he is underfunding by $700 million. Sen. Thompson and Assemblymen Dancer and Clifton are committed to aggressively advocating for any applications for relief from this fund that may be made by the school districts they represent.