The New Jersey Department of Education Office of School Finance has released state aid figures for the 2019-2020 school year and business administrators are hard at work crunching numbers.

Downbeach school boards will plug those numbers into their budgets before approving them for submission to the Atlantic County Executive Superintendent of Schools on Monday and afterward to their local Boards of School Estimates.

Ventnor fared slightly better than it anticipated when it held a budget workshop meeting on Feb. 27. Documentation shows that the Ventnor school district anticipated a 13 percent cut in the Adjustment Aid category, which is being phased out over a six-year period. The phase-out is being implemented to increase aid to underfunded school districts.

According to a press release, Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed budget will increase direct K-12 school aid by $206 million. Under the funding plan, nearly two-thirds of school districts will receive additional state aid. These include historically underfunded districts in suburban, rural, and urban communities.

Ventnor anticipated an $85,610 reduction in the line item, but state aid figures show the reduction will be $1,662 less. The total amount for Adjustment Aid will be $480,568, down from the $564,526 amount included in the income worksheet used to estimate this year’s budget. The reduction is certainly not enough for the board to reconsider eliminating staffing through attrition and filling a new pre-kindergarten teaching position in-house.

At a contentious meeting on Wednesday, March 6, the Margate school district anticipated its Adjustment Aid amount would be $27,995. But according to state aid figures released on the DOE website, Margate will receive $36,140. The increase totaling $4,570 is not enough to eliminate steep cuts, including reducing nine teaching assistants to part-time status without benefits.

According to Business Administrator Jenn Germana, the budget presentation presented on Wednesday will be updated for Monday’s meeting to include the change in Adjustment Aid and to revise the amount of the city’s total assessed valuation, which could change the projected tax rate decrease.

Longport, which sends its students to Margate, will also have a 2.24 percent reduction in state aid. The district will receive $2,000 less in Adjustment Aid this year.

Ventnor and Margate are scheduled to hold special meetings Monday, March 11 to approve their budgets for submission to the county superintendent. Ventnor’s meeting will be held 3:30 p.m. at the Ventnor Educational Community Complex, and Margate’s meeting will be held at 5:45 p.m. at the Eugene A. Tighe Middle School Media Center.

See the state aid figures here https://www.state.nj.us/education/stateaid/

Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.