SUPER EXPECTS BOOST UNDER NEW PLAN
By TIM HATHAWAY
The extra $368,000 in state funding that Red Bank schools received last year may have been a windfall, but schools Superintendent Laura Morana says there should be even more in the kitty this year.
According to Morana, the state will put more funding towards full-time preschool for three to four-years-olds, at-risk youth and limited English proficiency (LEP) students under the widely anticipated new school funding formula. The Corzine administration is expected to announce the specifics of the plan as early as next week.
Last year’s increase the state’s largest, at 18.6 percent came after a flat-rate funding formula for at-risk and LEP students was shelved for a needs-based model. Seventy-one percent of students in the Red bank district are considered at-risk or eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, and 18 percent of students are enrolled in ESL classes, according to Morana.
Compared to other school districts these populations are high, which would account for the boost in funding, Morana said.
The state will most likely require a full-time preschool program for three- and four-year-olds, Morana said. The borough currently has 110 four-year-old students in its full-time preschool, but the current building does not have enough space for both age groups.
“I might move the third graders to the Middle School and make room for the three-year-olds in the primary school,” Morana said. “We just don’t have enough room.”
The only area in which Morana said there might be a decrease is in tuition funding for special education programs.
“This won’t really affect us,” she said. “But some neighboring towns may not be happy about the (potential) decrease.”