School officials ‘deeply disappointed’ in modest state aid increase
PHOTO BY ERIN ROLL
By ERIN ROLL
Montclair's schools will get an increase in state aid for the 2019-2020 school year, but it isn't much.
The school district will receive $7,605,632 in aid this year, according to data posted on the New Jersey Department of Education's website.
Last year, Montclair received $7,428,526, which represents a $177,106 increase, or 2.38 percent.
BOE President Laura Hertzog said she was pleased that the district wouldn't be getting flat funding. "But I am still deeply disappointed the state hasn't made more of a commitment to fully funding the [school aid] formula," she said.
The BOE will be discussing the state aid numbers at a budget meeting on Monday, Hertzog said.
“While we are thankful for the [2019-2020] state aid provided to date, it is our hope to receive a fully funded state aid formula allocation. It is very difficult to program for a world class education without a fully funded state aid allocation. Our Montclair scholars deserve the best," Superintendent Kendra Johnson said.
The schools are facing a $2.2 million budget shortfall, which district officials blamed on a lack of sufficient state aid. According to the funding formula, Montclair is entitled to $9 million in state aid if the formula were being fully funded.
Among the cuts being considered for the budget are nine teaching jobs and 10 paraprofessional jobs.
The state's school budget totals $15.4 billion. The state gave schools a $206 million increase in state aid this year.
Among Montclair's neighboring towns, Glen Ridge received $1,230,738, an increase of 11.38 percent; Bloomfield received $30,345,478, an increase of 9.66 percent; East Orange received $175,087,372, the same amount as last year; Verona received $1,442,837, an increase of 12.04 percent; South Orange-Maplewood received $5,600,317, an increase of 11.25 percent; and Orange received $81,122,049, an increase of 3.20 percent.