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Brick May Face Loss of School Aid, Again, in 2018

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

After being threatened with a loss of $1.4 million in state funding for its schools, state officials restored the half – then all – of the education dollars for the 2017-18 school year. But next year there may be even more at stake.

“State aid is, of course, dependant upon the states revenues,” said school district Business Administrator James Edwards, who said he would develop budget plans that include and exclude state aid to the district.

The bulk of the state’s multi-billion dollar education budget goes toward 31 mostly-urban school districts under a funding formula dictated by the Abbott court decisions. Brick receives what is known as “transitional aid,” which was originally designed to bridge the gap between tax revenues and school operating costs when aid was cut in 2008-09. Essentially, under the state’s formula, Brick is not taxed high enough for its schools. The under-taxation is calculated at about $19 million.

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The proposed cut of $1.4 million earlier this year was brokered by state Sen. President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto. It was signed into law by Republican Gov. Chris Christie under a separate deal he made with the two Democratic legislators. But the funding was restored this fall without any detailed explanation from the state. Still, the cuts were specifically aimed at the transitional aid districts like Brick receive.

“I wouldn’t say that we’re going to lose $15 million in state aid, but I do know something – it was debated heavily this year  – districts like Brick that have declining enrollment that continue to receive adjustment [aid],” said Edwards.