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South Brunswick school district forms new budget committee as state aid cuts continue

A new South Brunswick School District Budget Committee has been established for the township to address the continued cuts in state aid, impacts on the district, and provide further understanding of the district budgeting process to the community.

The school district administration announced the forming of the townwide budget committee in a community letter on Sept. 22 invited the public to apply to be on the committee.

“As the district continues to be challenged by decreased funding from the state, the fiscal impact of a 2% budget rule, and financial factors associated with post-pandemic America, budgeting in South Brunswick School District Budget Committee (SBSD) has become more and more complex,” Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder said.

He noted that it is the district’s hope that the creation of such a committee will provide all of the town with more clarity on how school budgeting works and the impact on property taxes.

The townwide budget committee is not only designed to consist of personnel from schools in the district or the district administration, but will also include community residents, district parents, business owners and seniors.

“A school budget impacts all who live, work or operate a business in our town, which is why we are looking for this expanded group of interested folks,” Feder said.

Four meeting dates have been scheduled for the committee, which will occur on Oct. 19, Nov. 16, Dec. 14, and Jan. 26. The committee will decide on whether more meetings are needed, according to Feder’s letter.

Those who have applied must be available for all four dates. Meetings start at 6:30 p.m. and are estimated to be for two hours.

“Our goal is to build a diverse committee of township stakeholders who represent the entirety of our town,” Feder said. “We are looking for school personnel, district administration and supervisors, township membership, seniors, parents, business owners and community members.”

The South Brunswick School District has lost state aid every year since the S-2 funding formula was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2018.

The S-2 funding formula is the state’s funding formula for aid to school districts that determines how much is allocated for districts across the state.

The formula uses current student growth population data, local district aggregate income and local tax ratables, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA).

For the 2022-23 school year, the district received $19.74 million, which is a decrease of $1.74 million from the 2021-22 aid amount of $21.5 million.

The district administration at the end of this process with the new committee expects members to develop a very clear understanding of the budget process.

“All fiscal aspects including where the money comes from to operate schools in New Jersey; state aid specifically, budget prioritization, the 2023-24 budget outlook and some work session time to simulate the process of how decisions get made,” Feder said in the letter.

For more information on applying to be on the committee, visit www.sbschools.org.

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