Wirths and Space introduce bill to halt school aid cuts
District 24 Legislators aim to use federal funds to prevent reductions in state school aid
NEW JERSEY – Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space (both R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) announced Friday that they have introduced legislation to use federal stimulus funds received by New Jersey to prevent school funding cuts proposed by Governor Phil Murphy in his FY 2022 State Budget proposal (A5544).
“I stated back in February when the school aid figures were released that with the windfall of federal pandemic help and improving revenues contributing to a budget surplus, there are resources available to adequately fund our schools,” said Wirths, the Assembly Republican Budget Officer. “With the amount of federal aid which the State of New Jersey has received, no school should be punished because they have the wrong zip codes in the wrong counties.”
The current budget proposal slashes funding for approximately one-third of New Jersey’s school districts for the upcoming fiscal year that starts July 1. New Jersey will receive more than $6 billion in direct federal aid from Washington under the most recent stimulus package, more than enough to cover the estimated $193 million cost of reversing the proposed cuts in school funding.
“By using a fraction of the federal stimulus money to avoid cuts in state school aid, we are being fair to every student, educator, or taxpayer no matter where they live,” Space said. “Enacting this legislation will be a win-win for students and taxpayers all across New Jersey, from High Point to Cape May!”
Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) announced Thursday that he introduced the identical bill in the Senate (S3657).
“There’s no budgetary justification for school funding cuts when we have $6 billion in new federal relief funds at our disposal,” said Oroho, the Senate Republican Budget Officer. “After a year of remote and hybrid learning, it’s imperative that all of our schools have the resources they need to keep students from falling even further behind.”
The District 24 legislators will be drumming up support in the months ahead before the State budget is due this summer. Legislators from both parties have already joined on as sponsors.