HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners Deputy Director John E. Lanza has called for the Governor’s $2.6 million cut to school aid for Hunterdon’s schools to be overturned by state legislators, and announced an effort to recruit other County Boards where school districts are also losing aid to lobby their legislators.
Governor Murphy’s proposed FY 2022 budget reduces school aid to Hunterdon County schools by $2.6 million, while increasing school aid for most other districts in the state by over $589 million.
“Four years in a row. Four straight budgets from Governor Murphy. Four straight cuts to school aid to Hunterdon County. This year’s proposed reduction in school aid for the County is $2.6 million. Over the four years of the Governor’s budgets there is a total $8.4 million reduction in school aid to Hunterdon County school districts, property taxpayers, school children and teachers,” Lanza said.
Lanza said, that 193 school districts in fourteen Counties across the state are losing school aid this year and has suggested County Boards of Commissioners call on their state legislators to hold all districts harmless in the final state budget.
The Hunterdon Commissioner is calling the effort ‘Stop The School Aid Madness.’
“We are told there is a state school funding law that ties everyone hands. It’s not true. Language can be inserted in the state budget that overrides the existing law and ensures every school district receive no less funding than last year, particularly as they face the additional costs brought on by the pandemic,” Lanza said.
“It’s pretty simple actually. Every year the state budget is rife with budget language that sets aside state laws in order to fund legislators’ pet projects, to reward a favored hospital, or to achieve some more socially acceptable policy. So why not to protect 193 school districts and their school children and property taxpayers with the same language in the state budget as the favored interests receive?,” Lanza said.
Lanza said, “Freezing aid at last year’s level would not redress the larger problem for Hunterdon County of having seen our school districts lose $8.4 million over the last four years, but it would at least stop the bleeding.”
Lanza announced he will propose a ‘Stop the School Aid Madness’ resolution for the Hunterdon County Board to consider at its next meeting.
“The resolution will call on those thirteen other Boards of Commissioners where school aid is being cut to send resolutions to the legislators representing their counties, which comprise better than half the members of the legislature, demanding that budget language be inserted in the FY 22 budget that will protect our school children, property taxpayers and teachers from these aid cuts,” Lanza said.
“After four straight years of school aid cuts to Hunterdon County schools and others around the state, it’s time to push back hard. If all those concerned join together, legislative action can be achieved,” Lanza said.