Senate approves bill keeping federal aid in school districts that educate military students
NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco that would help school districts better utilize state military impact aid for the benefit of students was approved Monday by the Senate.
The bipartisan bill, S-3089, would allow a board of education of a school district that received unanticipated State military impact aid in the 2021-2022 school year to establish a military impact aid reserve account in its annual budget.
Under the bill, at its discretion, the board may use the funds in the reserve account for general fund expenses.
“By holding these badly needed but unanticipated funds in a reserve, districts like Rockaway Township Schools in my district, can ensure the money is responsibly appropriated to provide help where it is most needed,” said Bucco (R-25). “The money fills a crucial void in Rockaway’s budget, created when Washington failed to deliver federal impact aid to help pay for educational costs for military children in the schools.
“This bipartisan bill will help maximize funding which is intended to ease the added burden on local property taxpayers,” Bucco said.
When legislation was signed in June providing additional state school aid to districts impacted by the loss of federal impact aid, the Rockaway Township School District was one of two qualifying districts.
A district would be eligible for this aid if it received a Basic Support Payment of federal Impact Aid in the prior fiscal year and the district provides free public education to federally connected children whose parents are on active duty in the uniformed services. This aid is critical to Rockaway Township which hosts Picatinny Arsenal.
“The feds had an obligation to underwrite the cost of educating children of our military men and women, but when the money didn’t arrive, local families were stuck paying the bill,” Bucco said. “The measure passed by the Senate today is the next step in mitigating the unfair treatment of local residents.”