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Sarlo-Ruiz Statement on School Funding

TRENTON – Senator Paul Sarlo, chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz issued the following statement on school funding after the Committee’s hearing on the Governor’s FY2025 spending proposal for the Department of Education:

“The Governor’s budget proposal for school funding marks significant progress by fully funding the school aid formula for the first time in state history. The proposed increase of $908 million in formula aid is the successful culmination of a seven-year plan by the Legislature to fully fund the formula with a total of $11.5 billion in state support for public education in New Jersey. This is an achievement that promotes educational opportunity and supports local taxpayers.

“We believe that more work needs to be done. There are 140 school districts that face a reduction in state aid. There are a multitude of factors contributing to this problem, including fluctuations in student populations, increases in local property values and residential wealth, and other variables in the funding formula.

“This is a complicated issue, but we are committed to identifying ways to help these districts address these funding gaps during the ongoing budget process and to reviewing the timetable for the submission of local school budgets. 

“This process will be aided by the willingness expressed by Acting Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer in today’s hearing to provide flexibility to school districts to modify their budgets after they are submitted if the Legislature takes any action needed to facilitate this flexibility. This will allow the Legislature to review this issue in a deliberate and responsible way.”