Schools Get a Kiss From the State With Extra Aid Money
The district can add $180,000 to its budget and keep the tax levy unchanged.
Already budgeting for no local tax increase for the second consecutive year, the Ocean City School District learned last week that it will receive extra money from the state for the next fiscal year.
Gov. Chris Christie's administration announced on Thursday that Ocean City will receive an additional $1.5 million in state aid for the next school year, an 80 percent increase over what it received last year.
The Christie administration touted its "continued commitment for supporting public education in Cape May County and across New Jersey" in a news release and said the state aid figures represent the largest appropriation of K-12 education dollars in the state’s history.
Most of the increase comes in the form of tuition reimbursements for the out-of-district students Ocean City educates as part of the new School Choice program. Ocean City had anticipated and budgeted for that increase as it accepted more students (now a total of 33 at the Primary School, 39 at the Intermediate School and 94 at Ocean City High School).
But the news that came on Thursday did include some pleasant surprises, according to School Business Administrator Tom Grossi. Increases that were not included in the preliminary budget introduced on Feb. 27
- Special Education Aid: Increase of $30,154
- Security Aid: Increase of $11,104
- Transportation Aid: Decrease of $7,367
- School Choice Aid: Increase of $198,850 (funding per pupil increased to $13,825 from $12,330 in the new fiscal year, and the preliminary budget assumed the rate would be the same)
- SDA Assessment: Increase in cost of $52,884
- Total Net Increase: $179,857
Grossi said the district will be budgeting these additional funds as follows:
- Additional Security Upgrades: $50,000
- Additional Technology Upgrades: $74,000
- Deposit into Capital Reserve: $55,857
“Throughout my time in office I have continuously argued that in order to grow New Jersey’s economy we must invest in education, and my proposed budget is a reflection of my commitment to our educational system and communities in Cape May County and across the state," Gov. Christie said in a news release. "The $2,784,260 increase to Cape May County districts is part of a bold budget that continues to prioritize education and funds schools at the highest levels in New Jersey’s history.”
The $97.3 million increase in education aid is the third year in a row of increases in education funding. On average, districts across the state will receive an increase of $75 per pupil. All districts will receive an increase in K-12 formula aid or maintain flat funding from the previous school year.