Legislation Ensures Educational Programs are Preserved
Aiming to double down on historic education investments included in this year’s budget, the General Assembly passed legislation (A5328/S3732) sponsored by Assembly Democrats Roy Freiman, Paul Moriarty and Lisa Swain that would invest an additional $103 million to support 168 school districts across 19 counties in New Jersey. The bill advanced on a 77-0 vote, sending it to Governor Murphy’s desk.
“There is nothing more important to invest in than our children’s future. The families who live in New Jersey deserve the best public schools in the country, and with this investment, we will continue that commitment to the people who live here. After all of the disruption to learning through the pandemic, the last thing we need is for families to worry about teachers being laid off or services being cut,” said Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon). “While in office, I have fought for sound, responsible budget policies, and they’re paying off— we’re giving our schools the resources they need to deliver great education to our children, while keeping property taxes low. This legislation represents that commitment, and I am proud to sponsor it.”
The bill will ensure that educational services continue to be delivered without disruption as the state transitions to a fairer funding formula.
For any district that received a reduction in state aid in the proposed 2024 fiscal budget, this bill would offset two-thirds of that loss.
Nearly half of the FY24 state budget is aid for education, and this legislation represents an additional one billion dollars in increased aid over last year’s budget. The passage of the bill comes at a crucial time, as school districts set their budgets in April, and are now able to avoid planning any cuts in educational programs or teachers.
The increased appropriation is possible through thoughtful fiscal planning by New Jersey Democrats, who approved a bill creating a Debt Defeasance Fund in June 2021. Part of that fund has been used to refinance state debt, allowing more taxpayer dollars to stay in local communities. The decreased debt load has enabled the Democrats to increase their commitment to the largest property tax relief program in state history and to ensure that school funding remains a top priority.
“This significant $103 million investment demonstrates our commitment to putting New Jersey students first,” said Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Our continued dedication to getting our fiscal house in order has made it possible to prioritize investments with a tangible impact on New Jersey residents. Thanks to our sound budget policies, we are able to ensure our schools can continue offering education services without disruption in the 2023-24 school year.”
“We’re doing everything we can to provide our school districts and teachers with the resources they need to provide students with a top-notch education,” said Assemblywoman Lisa Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic). “By acting quickly to ensure each school district has the resources it needs, we are ensuring that New Jersey continues to have the best schools in the country. An investment into our children’s futures is always worth making.”