Monmouth County GOP lawmakers declare suburban school funding crisis after Murphy’s multimillion state aid cuts

Monmouth County GOP lawmakers declare suburban school funding crisis after Murphy’s multimillion state aid cuts

Kim Eulner

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywomen Kim Eulner and Marilyn Piperno are calling Gov. Phil Murphy’s ‘historic’ school funding announcement Thursday a slap in the face to suburban districts. Murphy is cutting nearly $21.5 million in state aid to 11 schools the lawmakers represent in Monmouth County.

“Indefensible is how I would describe the excessive funding cuts to Monmouth County schools that are suffering from higher costs, teacher shortages and learning loss just like everyone else,” Eulner said. “While our colleague across the aisle in the Senate, Sen. Vin Gopal, celebrates the scraps of money that go to our schools, we are calling it what it is – a suburban school funding crisis. More than half the schools in our district are getting gutted.”

Of the 22 schools in legislative district 11, half are being cut and one district’s funding is flat. Overall, the legislative district will receive 8.5% less funding – a net loss of $16.8 million – compared to last year. All of Monmouth County schools are facing a net funding loss of nearly $20 million with 84% of that coming from schools in the lawmakers’ district.

Marilyn Piperno

“It’s not fair or equitable to build up other schools at the expense of suburban students’ education,” Piperno said. “Gopal has sat on the sidelines and watched Asbury Park City lose $33.7 million since 2018. It’s unacceptable.”

Sen. Gopal (D-Monmouth) serves as the Senate Education Committee Chair and represents the legislative district.

“Even Red Bank Borough, which had been getting increases to finally provide a thorough education, is unexpectedly being cut by 6%,” added Piperno. “Children are being disproportionately and negatively affected because bad decisions are being made behind closed doors and Gopal refuses to stand up for our communities.”

Murphy’s fiscal year 2024 budget boosts school aid by $832 million, which accounts for increases in just 15% of the state’s 577 school districts. The winner for funding increases goes to Newark, which will get $114 million more aid, while more than 150 so-called overfunded school districts get cut under the controversial S2 funding formula, which is in its sixth year of a seven-year phase in.

“These funding cuts will jeopardize jobs, school programs and students’ education,” said Eulner and Piperno. “We won’t be taking a victory lap until every child, teacher and school gets the funding they desperately need to address learning loss, mental health and workforce shortages.”