For a second consecutive year state aid for school districts in New Jersey has hit a historic level. The Christie administration announced a record $12.9 billion would go to schools in New Jersey for the 2014-15 school year, and that each district across the board would receive an increase of some kind over last year.
The overall aid makes up 37.5-percent of the state’s $34.4 billion budget, which was presented by Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday. The $12.9 billion amount is an increase of $36.8 million over last year.
Locally, Parsippany’s school district will receive an increase of 3.1-percent over last year’s total amount. A jump of $139,580 brings the district’s total aid to $4,619,082 for the 2014-15 school year.
Two funds received special attention in the school budgeting, according to the administration, including Per-Pupil Growth Aid and PARCC Readiness. The Per-Pupil Growth Aid money “can be used for virtually any general fund budget item. The decision on where to spend these funds will be made at the local level,” according to the governor’s office.
The PARCC Readiness aid was infused to help districts realign core standards for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. PARCC testing will replace NJ ASK and HSPA testing by the spring of 2015.
Parsippany received $69,790 for each of those categories, a total of $139,580 – the exact amount of total increase the budget will have.
All school districts are now required to keep year-over-year costs below a two-percent tax levy increase. If any dollars (not used for health or pension costs) go beyond that threshold, a special vote is needed for the public to approve.