Gov. Murphy Releases New NJ State Aid Figures For Schools - Manasquan, NJ Patch

Gov. Murphy Releases New NJ State Aid Figures For Schools - Manasquan, NJ Patch

Gov. Murphy Releases New NJ State Aid Figures For Schools - Manasquan, NJ Patch

Posted: 26 Aug 2020 12:00 AM PDT

NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy released new state aid figures on Wednesday, saying they will remain steady from fiscal year 2020 despite the "historic financial challenges New Jersey is facing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."

In his revised budget proposal, Gov. Murphy announced that funding for school districts will remain consistent with the figures announced in July, keeping the state on track to fully fund public schools. Additionally, the revised budget proposal includes almost $68 million in new funds over FY2020 for preschools in New Jersey.

The individual breakdown of funding for each district was not available at press time, but overall, the governor's spending plan would ensure school districts receive the same levels of funding that were announced in July, officials said.

Murphy also announced $100 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) funding to ensure schools can reopen safely.

"Supporting our public schools has been one of the bedrock priorities of my administration, and the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed our commitment to our students, educators, and staff," said Murphy. "The pandemic has created an unprecedented challenge for our schools, but I am proud that we can continue to support our districts, ensure the health and safety of students and school staff, and provide a high-quality education for all children. Together, we will weather these challenging times and build a state that is stronger, fairer, and more resilient."

"Considering the fiscal devastation that the pandemic has wrought, it is a remarkable achievement that we are proposing a budget that stabilizes school aid and allows for growth in programs to benefit our youngest learners," said Kevin Dehmer, Interim Commissioner of Education.

Fiscal 2021 Budget Highlights

The governor's revised budget proposal for the 2020-2021 school year includes an additional $67.8 million in preschool education aid, for a total preschool allocation of $874.2 million. Of that increase, $10 million will go to expanding high-quality preschool programs into new school districts, with the remainder of the increase in preschool aid helping districts with existing preschool programs to expand to enroll additional students.

Overall, the governor's spending plan would ensure school districts receive the same levels of funding that were announced in July. The budget proposal would continue the phase-in to full funding of the state's public school system required by a recent law designed to address inequities that resulted from years of overfunding some districts while failing to adequately meet the needs of others.

Murphy and Dehmer discussed the education funding during a visit today to the Somerville School District, which would see a nearly 14 percent increase in preschool education aid from Fiscal 2020 for a total increase of $111,357, and a 3.5 percent increase in K-12 aid from the previous year for a total increase of $267,698.

$100 Million for School Reopening

Murphy allocated $100 million in federal CRF funding to support school reopening. A district may use the funding to meet the health and safety standards that the Department of Education established in its school-reopening guidance, The Road Back. In addition, districts that already meet the health and safety protocols can use the funds to ensure continued satisfaction of those standards.

Additional Budget Proposal Highlights

In addition to stable state aid and growth in preschool education aid, the governor's budget plan includes the following increases:

  • $400,000 in funding to continue support for STEM Dual Enrollment and Early College High School funding, which led to the launch of P-TECH schools across New Jersey.
  • $800,000 for the Computer Science for All initiative to support the goal of increasing student access to cutting-edge computer science instruction.
  • $750,000 to continue the Minority Teacher Development Grants designed to diversify the teacher pipeline. (The grants are referred to as the "High Poverty School District Minority Teacher Recruitment Program" in the budget.) Research says that a diverse teaching workforce benefits all children; however, 56 percent of New Jersey's students are children of color while only 16 percent of New Jersey's educators are teachers of color.

Murphy's administration released the state aid numbers earlier in the year, but he provided a revised budget on Tuesday now that the coronavirus pandemic has wrecked New Jersey's finances. Read more: Gov. Murphy: More Taxes, Funds Needed In NJ Budget Amid COVID-19

A number of districts may be looking for more money now that they have to adapt – and pay heavily for –retrofitting their schools for in-person instruction amid the coronavirus outbreak. Read more: NJ Coronavirus, School Reopen Updates: Here's What You Need To Know

Under his original year-long plan, 193 school districts had a decrease in funding, and may have needed tax increases to make up the differences. Read more: These 193-Plus Districts May Face Tax Hike: NJ School Aid Figures

Lawmakers have sought other methods — such as raising property taxes and consolidating school districts — to bring in more revenue to New Jersey and help fund school districts that experienced sharp cuts in state funding.

Murphy, however, has rejected those efforts, calling property taxes "regressive." Read more: NJ Gov. Murphy Vetoes Raising Property Taxes To Fix School Aid

State aid weighs heavily in many district's decisions on raising local property taxes. Many often say that aid cuts or flat spending from year-to-year gives them cause to raise what are already the highest property taxes in the nation.

Some communities have said they'll be forced to close schools, cut programs and lay off teachers because of state aid cuts.

Watch Murphy live here:

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Manasquan's Power Appears To Be Fully Restored | Manasquan, NJ Patch - Manasquan, NJ Patch

Posted: 12 Aug 2020 12:00 AM PDT

MANASQUAN – Manasquan's power appears to be fully restored after Tropical Storm Isaias tore through New Jersey last week, spawning tornadoes and leaving more than 1.3 million homes without power in its wake.

Manasquan sustained strong tropical storm winds and gusts that were near hurricane-force on Aug. 4. Police, fire, EMS and the Department of Public Works responded to a surge in calls for assistance, ranging from trees and wires down, fires, alarms and damage to homes and vehicles.

The storm resulted in widespread power outages throughout Manasquan. On Aug. 4, JCP&L reported the following:

  • 1,279 customers affected
  • Approximately 31 percent of borough affected
  • All 10 circuits sustained damage
  • Crews surveyed the damage to the grid
  • JCP&L set up a regional staging area in Jackson with line workers, forestry specialists and support personnel and resources from outside areas.

The borough had been coordinating with JCP&L, and the company told officials that they recognized that restoration status was a primary concern to the public and municipalities.

Last week, JCP&L said it would work through the weekend, and final restoration times were expected to run into early this week, but those were the "worst cases."

If you lose power, call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report your outage or report it online or via text messaging. Outage information is also available on JCP&L's 24/7 Power Center Maps.

Elsewhere, two tornadoes formed, in Cape May County and in Ocean County, damaging a church in Ocean City and destroying the outdoor venue of the Surflight Theatre on what was supposed to be opening night for the performance of "Mamma Mia."

Gov. Phil Murphy had issued a state of emergency ahead of the arrival of Isaias, telling residents to stay off the roads and out of harm's way, but many people headed out shortly after the storm passed through.

Police officers were out directing traffic because traffic signals were out, and blocking off roads due to downed power lines.


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