Gov. Jon Corzine’s proposed budget includes a more than 18-percent increase in state aid to Red Bank schools.
From today’s Star-Ledger:
Details of Corzine’s state budget proposal released yesterday show the first significant, across-the-board increases for schools since 2000, with double-digit increases in some middle-class towns.
The biggest winners were places like Red Bank, Cliffside Park and West Orange, where increases as large as 18 percent were based mostly on large numbers of low-income students.
In 50 such towns, school aid will rise at least 10 percent, after a virtual freeze that lasted more than half a decade. The budget proposal now moves to the Legislature for review.
“I thought I read it wrong,” Red Bank Superintendent Laura Morana said. “I saw 18.6 percent (increase) and thought it must be an error.”
In 16 of the poorest 31 known as Abbott districts for the name of a plaintiff in the case residents will be asked to contribute a total of $17 million more in local taxes to make up for small cuts in aid.
Corzine’s budget had the most to offer communities one rung up the socio-economic ladder from the Abbotts a group that also happens to be largely Democratic, the same party as the governor. To help these towns, the proposed budget would establish a $66 million pot for schools with high concentrations of low-income students.
In Red Bank, the superintendent said the additional aid could provide a needed cushion in a budget now straining to offer music programs and world language instruction.
And this is from the Asbury Park Press report on the development:
The districts slated for the largest increases in state aid have more than 15 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches one measure of a community’s relative wealth. Those 217 districts are restricted to spending the funds on literacy programs, preschool and full-day kindergarten to “help us address the achievement gap” for low-income students, [Education Commissioner Lucille E.] Davy said.
District plans will have to be approved by the state before the money is allocated, Davy said.
Morana told the Press that the increase means $2.36 million in additional aid.