Singleton Introduces Legislation to Address School Funding Cuts and Prevent Local Tax Increases

TRENTON – Senator Singleton introduced legislation aimed at preventing cuts to state aid for school districts in the FY2025 Budget, providing for more parity between school districts, and preventing increases to local property taxes.

“This legislation would prevent the volatile, drastic swings in anticipated state aid that now threaten to reduce funding for many school districts across the state. These districts were given little time to determine how to handle sometimes double-digit percentage reductions in their state funding,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “These sudden reductions are unsustainable, and there needs to be more parity and predictability for districts without increasing local taxes.”

The bill, S-3058, would provide an inflationary state school aid growth limit to ensure the percentage increase to a school district’s state aid is no greater than the rate of inflation, except that schools in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged communities could receive an additional one percent increase. The excess funds would then be spread over the districts that would otherwise receive cuts.

“Right now, some districts are anticipating major increases, while others are anticipating drastic cuts to their funding. When it comes to funding our schools, we should not be choosing winners and losers,” Senator Singleton added. “With this reform, no district would lose funding, and most importantly, the cost for that would not be made up for with increases to local taxes.”

Schools that would have received an increase to the state school aid greater than the new growth limit would be permitted to apply to the Commissioner of Education for “Necessary Stabilization Aid”. The amount a school district may receive from Necessary Stabilization Aid would be up to the difference between the aid that would have been received had it not been for the inflationary growth limit and the amount that is calculated with the consideration of the inflationary growth limit. Districts submitting an application would be required to provide details justifying the awarding of aid and a written plan explaining how the district would use the aid.