Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed $600 million increase in education funding in the FY22 State Budget will put New Jersey back on track to close the $2 billion K-12 state aid gap under the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), the state’s weighted student funding formula. After flat funding in FY21, this increase, if enacted, is a welcome restart to the Legislature’s commitment to phase in new state aid to fully fund the SFRA formula by FY25.
The full package of the Governor’s FY22 school funding proposal includes:
- $770 million increase in K-12 formula funding for 366 districts, an average increase of nearly $900 per pupil;
- $50 million increase in Preschool Education Aid, about half of which would go to new programs in expansion districts;
- $25 million increase in Extraordinary Aid for high-cost special education placements;
- $50 million in Stabilization Aid for grants to S-2 districts losing state aid (184 districts losing a total of $192 million).
Education Law Center, in testimony to the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees, is calling on lawmakers to support the Governor’s proposal. In accordance with the equity-focused principles of the SFRA, the proposal would target the greatest per pupil increases to the highest poverty districts and would expand access to New Jersey’s successful Abbott preschool program to poor students across the state.
ELC cautioned the Legislature not to reduce state support because of Congress’ approval of additional federal emergency relief to assist districts in responding to COVID-19. The 2021-22 school year will bring unprecedented challenges as districts plan to reopen schools after over a year of closed buildings, disrupted learning, and other impacts on students from the pandemic. These one-shot federal funds must be spent on short-term or one-time needs, such as targeted academic interventions or building improvements, and cannot replace the State’s constitutional obligation to adequately fund its public schools.
ELC also urged the Legislature to delay cuts to adjustment aid under Senate Bill 2 in the coming year. The resources required by all districts to deal with health and safety, academic remediation, and compensatory special education services are so great that there is no justification for state aid cuts at this time.
to view a statewide summary of the FY22 proposal and district-level reports of the proposed one-year change.
Policy and Outreach Director
973-624-1815, x 24
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications