Home EB Sentinel EB Sentinel News

Milltown Public Schools benefit from new school funding distribution

MILLTOWN — Superintendent of Schools Stephanie Brown said the additional allocation of state aid validates “how underfunded Milltown Public Schools have been through the previously flawed state aid formula.”

“It is very encouraging that the district is finally receiving back at least part of the state aid that was cut in 2010,” she said.

On July 13, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration released new school funding distribution totals based on increased appropriations and updates made to New Jersey’s school funding formula.

In total, almost $8.5 billion will be disbursed to the state’s 577 school districts, including an additional $68 million to bring aid in balance for underfunded districts.

“A stronger, fairer New Jersey means making sure New Jersey’s schools are receiving the funds they need to advance academic excellence for our students,” Murphy said in a release. “After years of neglect, we are turning the page to bring a balanced approach to school aid by removing the growth cap on funding increases and finally beginning the process of fully implementing the state’s school funding formula established in 2008.”

Brown said she is thankful for the increased state funding and excited about using it to best serve the district’s students in an educational environment of continued excellence.

The Milltown Public Schools will receive $247,957 more than the district was advised it would receive in the initial allocation notice for the 2018-19 budget year.

The district’s initial state aid amount for 2018-19 was $1.234 million, up $89,592 from the 2017-18 school year. Although state aid has increased each year from the 2011-12 school year, district administrators said significant state aid cuts during the 2010-11 school year took a toll.

The district received $703,127 in state aid during the 2010-11 school year, a decrease of $676,453 from 2009-10. During the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, the district’s state aid remained flat at $1.15 million.

“According to Gov. Murphy, this increase in state aid seeks to rectify inequities in funding among districts throughout the state,” Brown said in a letter posted on the district’s website and on social media on July 17.

“It also offers some relief from the massive state aid cuts, $700,000 plus, that Milltown dealt with under Gov. [Chris] Christie in 2010 and to this point. We do anticipate that Gov. Murphy’s renewed focus on education will perpetuate this level of aid in the upcoming years,” the superintendent said.

Brown explained what the additional state aid would mean to the district, which serves a K-8 enrollment of about 750 students.

The 2018-19 operating budget of $17 million supports Parkview School and Joyce Kilmer School, as well as the tuition for students attending Spotswood High School.

“Since the main mission of our school district is to focus on educational excellence, the majority of the additional aid has been designated to directly impact our students,” Brown said. “However, the Board of Education always considers how the school budget impacts the community as a whole, and feels strongly about taking advantage of this opportunity to provide homeowners with a lower school tax impact for 2018-19.”

Brown said the majority of the additional aid will be allocated to meet immediate needs that were unable to be funded otherwise.

“The most apparent impact for the 2018-19 school year will be the addition of a middle school social studies teacher, in order to equal the number of staff in the middle school science department,” she said. “We will also see the addition of a STEM lab (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in the [Joyce Kilmer] media center, which will be equipped with devices and manipulatives to challenge our students as 21st century learners.”

Brown said it is important for the district’s budgeting process to be thoughtful, transparent, and to take into consideration the district’s immediate and long-term goals.

“Although we always fully invest the state aid funds in Milltown schools, due to the fact that the 2018-19 budget has already been developed, we have decided to allocate approximately $100,000 of the increased school aid for 2018-19 tax relief,” she said.

“This tax relief is also in recognition of the strain that the previous years of reduced state aid have put on the residents of Milltown. Therefore, the tax levy as presented in the May public budget hearing will be reduced, lowering the school tax impact on the homeowner for 2018-19,” the superintendent said.

School district administrators were not immediately able to provide a dollar amount in savings that property owners will realize for 2018-19 with the additional $100,000 that is being put toward tax relief.

Exit mobile version