Marie S. Bilik, executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Assoc., issued the following statement in response to Gov. Chris Christie’s annual Budget Message to the state Legislature.
“As school districts develop their own budgets for 2012-2013, they carefully balance educational need with their communities’ financial resources. State aid to education plays an important and positive role by helping school districts provide critical educational programs, while also serving as a form of property tax relief.
“NJSBA greatly appreciates Governor Christie’s proposed school funding increase. Before taking a final position, however, we will have to see the details of aid distribution per district.
“Since 2008, the economic downturn has posed enormous challenges. As a result of the financial crisis, New Jersey school districts suffered an $820 million reduction in funding in 2010-2011. The current year’s budget began restoring those cuts by increasing state aid to the 556 non-Abbot districts by $369 million. (It also provided an additional $447 million in court-order aid increases to the 31 Abbott districts.)
“The proposed $200 million state aid increase, which includes additional funds for formula aid and other accounts for 2012-2013, would continue—but, on a statewide basis, would not complete—the restoration of funding to the non-Abbott districts.
“During the Legislature’s budget deliberation process, NJSBA will advocate strongly for adequate state funding for all local school districts.”
The New Jersey School Boards Association is a federation of 587 local boards of education and includes 65 charter school associate members. NJSBA advocates the interests of school districts, trains local school board members, and provides resources for the advancement of public education.
—By NJ School Boards Association