Governor Phil Murphy’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget – which provides $15.4 billion to support schools, the greatest amount in the history of New Jersey – focuses on stabilizing school funding, advancing science and technical education, and investing in preschool.
“New Jersey’s economic future is inextricably tied to education,” said Governor Murphy. “This budget – providing historic levels of state aid for schools, while advancing funding equity throughout the state – truly meets the benchmark of a stronger and fairer New Jersey.”
Governor Murphy’s proposed budget will increase direct K-12 school aid, or “formula aid,” by $206 million.
“Real lives are being improved by our investment in education,” said Education Commissioner Lamont O. Repollet. “We’re seeing this investment throughout the entire range of a child’s education, from preschool to graduation. This budget provides more children with access to a high-quality preschool, which helps children succeed in school and later in life. And our investment in both technology as well as career and technical education provides young people the skills they need to succeed after high school.”
The FY 2020 budget proposal continues the phase-in to full funding that began last year with the passage of amendments to state statute in P.L.2018, Chapter 67. That law aimed to eliminate years of funding inequities that overfunded some school districts while failing to keep pace with funding needs in other growing districts. Under the proposed Fiscal 2020 funding plan, nearly two-thirds of school districts will receive additional state aid. These include historically underfunded districts in suburban, rural, and urban communities.
The seven-year phase-in of the school funding alignment is designed to place all districts on the path to full funding, in which all school districts will be funded based on student enrollment and community factors as envisioned in the State’s school-funding formula, without regard to previous funding amounts.
Increasing Preschool Funding – The Governor’s budget represents the largest commitment to publicly funding preschool in state history. Districts that currently receive preschool education aid will see an increase in their per-pupil funding. Also, the preschool programs that expanded this school year – providing high-quality, full-day preschool to more than 4,000 children in 64 communities – will be made permanent.
The Governor is proposing a total increase of more than $68 million for existing preschool programs and the expansion of new preschool programs. This new preschool funding is in addition to and separate from the $206 million in additional K-12 school aid.
STEM and CTE – The Governor’s proposed spending plan would continue to fund initiatives in career and technical education (CTE) and advancing the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.
This includes a commitment to continue support for recent initiatives such as:
- $2 million for the Computer Science for All initiative (the budget refers to the program as the “Secondary School Computer Science Education Initiative”);
- $400,000 to support innovative early college programs, which last year helped launch three P-TECH schools across New Jersey to bring together high schools, community colleges and business to help high school students graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree (called “STEM Dual Enrollment and Early College High Schools” in the budget);
- $750,000 to continue Diversifying the Teacher Pipeline grants (referred to as the “High Poverty School District Minority Teacher Recruitment Program” in the budget);
- $1.35 million to continue to provide science education to districts with high concentrations of at-risk students through the Liberty Science Center.
Additional Highlights – Other highlights of the Fiscal 2020 budget proposal include:
Special Education: In addition to the $30 million increase in formula special education categorical aid, the Governor is proposing a $5 million increase in extraordinary aid for special education.
Nonpublic and Charter Schools: The budget will maintain all nonpublic education funding streams from 2018-19, including recent increases to nonpublic security aid, and will allocate over $8 million more for nonpublic transportation aid. Charter schools will continue to receive at least the same aid amount as this year, both in total revenue and on a per-pupil basis.
Payments Made on Behalf of School Districts: In addition to aid provided directly to school districts, the State annually covers the cost of important education-related costs such as teacher pensions, medical benefits for retired educators, and Social Security contributions for teachers. Many states do not cover such expenses on behalf of school districts. Governor Murphy’s proposed budget will include an additional $108.9 million to support these areas in the upcoming school year.