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Assembly Education Committee Advances Bills to Aid School Districts Impacted by State Aid Reductions

(TRENTON) –The Assembly Education Committee today advanced A4161, which would provide school districts experiencing aid reductions in the FY 2025 proposed budget with an opportunity to apply for increased funding in order to prevent teacher layoffs and cuts to programs.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Roy Freiman and Assemblywomen Mitchelle Drulis and Pamela Lampitt, would establish a one-time Stabilized School Budget Aid Grant Program within the New Jersey Department of Education. The bill establishes a process for school districts to apply for grants to restore portions of the State school aid reductions. The legislation appropriates $71.4 million for the program.

The legislation comes at a key time, as school districts are already submitting tentative budgets to the Department of Education. Finalized budgets are due in May.

“We know that even in the midst of unprecedented school aid and investment in education, some districts are losing state aid,” said Assemblyman Freiman (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “This bill recognizes the need to act swiftly, as some school districts are already working on budgetary decisions. Delays in our response could result in staff cuts being implemented that could otherwise be avoided.”

Under this bill, eligible school districts that saw a reduction in their 2024-2025 School state aid could apply for up to two-thirds of the amount of that reduction. In order to receive the aid, the school districts must meet several criteria, including exhausting all used and unused tax authority and committing to not reduce the total number of employees compared to the pre-budget year if student enrollment is steady.

 “This legislation represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring districts have the funding they need to make smart decisions on the local level,” said Assemblywoman Drulis (Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “We must continue to invest in the future of New Jersey families, particularly in the education of our children, ensuring school districts can plan future budgets without compromising the quality of education they deliver.”

“The legislation advanced today will allow us to uphold our commitment to quality education for New Jersey’s children, ensuring they have the best educational resources, teachers and staff,” said Assemblywoman Lampitt, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee (D-Camden, Burlington). “We are empowering districts to approach funding challenges at the local level and to make the best decisions for their communities.”

The Committee also passed A4059, sponsored by Assemblywoman Lampitt, Assemblyman Sterley Stanley, and Assemblywoman Andrea Katz, which would give districts receiving State aid reductions this year additional time to finalize their budgets.