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Beach Bill to Provide Budget Deadline Flexibility for School Districts Passes Senate

Trenton – Today, the Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senator James Beach that would permit school districts facing reduced state school aid to submit their budgets after the enactment of the state’s FY25 Appropriations Act.

“Several districts are facing double-digit percentage state funding cuts compared to last year, and we have a responsibility to give them time to adjust,” said Senator Beach (D-Camden/Burlington). “As the legislature seeks to identify additional aid for these districts though the annual budget process, it is only fair that we provide additional time for them to submit their budgets, so they can be finalized with complete information.”

School districts have reported facing challenges as a result of unexpected or larger than expected decreases to state aid, with many given just six days to prepare their budgets after the Governor’s proposed budget was made public on March 14, 2024. In districts now expecting significant cuts to state aid, a lack of sufficient time to evaluate funding priorities threatens their ability to preserve educational quality and opportunity for their students.

The bill, S-3002, would require the Commissioner of Education to permit certain school districts losing state school aid to submit a school budget up to five days following the enactment of the FY25 Appropriations Act. The Commissioner would be authorized to make any adjustments to the school budget calendar that would be necessary to conform with the bill.

The bill was approved by the Senate in an 37-0 vote.