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GOP Assembly Members Push $2.9B School Funding Bill

GOP Assembly Members Push $2.9B School Funding Bill

By Vince Conti

Pla2na/Shutterstock.com

A bill that appropriates $2.9 billion to restore funding to school districts that have experienced significant cuts in state aid since 2018 is receiving support from New Jersey school superintendents.

An April 18 release from Assembly Republican leader John DiMaio cites support from eight New Jersey school superintendents for the legislation. The aid cuts have been due to the enactment of S2, a 2018 bill that phased out adjustment aid as a component of state support.

The release comes as lawmakers in Trenton are scrambling to put some form of temporary aid package together for school districts where the years of reduced aid have decimated budgets.

The Fully Funding Schools and Cutting Property Tax Act, sponsored by DiMaio and all Republican members of the Assembly, is not new. It was introduced in 2023 and later tabled by a 42-33 vote of the Assembly, with five members not voting.

The bill was reintroduced in the Assembly on Jan. 9, referred to the Education Committee, and has seen no vote in committee.

The bill counters Gov. Phil Murphy’s claim that New Jersey is at the point where it is fully funding K-12 education as defined in the state’s funding formula. Republicans say that is not true and that many districts have experienced such significant cuts in aid that they cannot provide a “thorough and efficient education,” as required by the state constitution.

The DiMaio bill would require school districts that receive new funding under its provisions to proportionately reduce the district property tax levy. The bill seeks to fund every district up to the so-called adequacy level to lower property taxes. Funding would come from state income tax revenues.

While the bill has sat in committee, the Assembly did approve a bill on April 15 that establishes a one-time state grant program and allows districts to hike property taxes above the 2% state cap without seeking voter approval. The Senate version of that bill has not yet been brought up for a vote.

Contact the reporter, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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