New Jersey’s Disparate State Aid To Public Schools
This Budget provides $92.6 million for a 3% increase in state aid to non-Abbott districts in order to recognize the financial hardship caused by years of limited or no state aid increases.That amounts to an average increase in state aid of $86.22 per student * to the non-Abbott school districts. A few other facts jumped out at us as we reviewed the state aid numbers. There are 77 non-Abbott districts slated to receive less than $20,000 in additional state funding. That’s less than the Newark school district spends for just one student – $21,503 **.
Reviewed at the county level (chart below) you can see how just how uneven school aid is distributed. Bergen County would receive an average of $1,611 per student, the least amount in aid to any New Jersey county, followed by Morris County with $1,881 and Somerset County at $1,932 per student.
Reviewed at the school district level the state aid picture is even more disparate. For example, the proposed state aid average for Bergen County is $1,611 per student, but ranges from a low of $146 per student in Saddle River Boro to a high of $9,209 in Garfield City.
The proposed Essex County state aid average is $8,985. The Newark school district is slated to receive $16,556 in state aid per student and that’s assuming the legislature goes along with Corzine’s recommended funding cut to the district. Fairfield Township is to get $743 per student, reflecting a 3 percent increase.
The recommended average aid per student is $3,750 for Monmouth County. But again, averages can be a bit deceiving. Asbury Park would receive $21,779 per student, assuming the legislature approves the Governor’s requested reduction in school aid for the district. Deal Boro would receive $570 per student, assuming the school district’s aid is increased by 3 percent as proposed.
For more information, you can view proposed state aid by school district and by county at this link. To figure out state aid per student for a school district or county you can use these enrollment statistics from the New Jersey Department of Education at this link. [Note: The school aid figures don’t include federal funding and also excludes other forms of state school aid - debt service aid, HELP aid, and Abbott bordered district aid.]
* The 31 Abbott school districts, account for 23 percent or 320,800 students of New Jersey’s total public school enrollment of 1,394,779. The $92.6 million increase will be spread around to districts with the remaining 1,073,999 students for an average of $86.22 per student.
** Newark school district budget of $900 million, divided by an enrollment of 41,855 equals an average cost per student of $21,503.