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Governor Phil Murphy

Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Providing Support to School Districts Seeing Reductions in School Funding Aid


TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed two bills offering flexibility and relief to school districts across New Jersey as they work to finalize their 2024-2025 school budgets. The first bill (A4161) aims to increase funding for school districts experiencing reductions in aid under S2, easing the impact of the final year of its seven-year phase-in as school districts adjust to funding levels calculated under the School Funding Reform Act.

By signing the legislation, the Governor establishes a Stabilized School Budget Aid Grant Program in the Department of Education to provide grants equal to 45 percent of a school district’s State school aid reduction for the 2024-2025 school year. The bill appropriates $44.7 million to support the program. In addition to providing supplementary state aid, the legislation allows certain districts experiencing reductions in state aid to request increases in their adjusted property tax levies above the two percent cap established under current law.

“From the onset of my Administration, we have strived to ensure every child in New Jersey receives the top-notch education that has become synonymous with our state’s public education system. Through seven budget cycles, we have never wavered on our commitment to our school communities – and that rings true today,” said Governor Murphy. “With this legislation, we are giving local school districts critical support during trying times, as difficult financial realities muddy the already complex process of adopting a balanced budget. I am pleased to provide relief to school districts facing reductions in aid and, as we look ahead, I anticipate working alongside Commissioner Dehmer to ensure our tax dollars are being used responsibly to uplift all of our students.”

“The combination of additional state aid and school district tax levy growth cap flexibility achieved by this legislation strikes a key balance: easing the transition to full funding amounts while further empowering school districts to sustain education and support programs beyond S2’s phase-in schedule,” said Kevin Dehmer, Acting Commissioner of Education. “For our part, the Department is committed to working with districts on finalizing their budget plans for next school year; for their part, this legislation provides districts additional revenue sources to further help transition to sustainable spending plans that meet the needs of all students. I commend the Governor and the Legislature for their commitment to this impactful legislation.”

“This law will help local school districts experiencing funding gaps bring more stability to their finances,” said Senate President Nick Scutari. “It provides the resources and the means needed by them to support a quality education. We have some of the best public schools in the country and we are committed to working with all of them to maintain that standard of excellence for the benefit of educators, students and their local communities.”

“We have increased state aid to record levels for our best-in-the-nation public schools,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “This legislation will provide more flexibility for local districts to plan for the future while we maintain our commitment to full funding for education. It will also offer immediate support to mitigate job losses and cuts to programs due to fluctuations in the funding formula.”

“This supplemental funding ensures a more solid footing for our students to thrive, and eases the property tax burden on our seniors and residents,” said Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald. “New Jersey’s national ranking for its education is a testament to our unwavering commitment to our students. We will continue to staunchly advocate for our communities and schools to maintain the standard of excellence that has distinguished us as a leader in providing quality education.”

“I fully support the state’s school funding formula, but I recognize that there are a few anomalies that impact a number of districts in New Jersey,” said Senator Paul Sarlo, Chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. “This law is a remedy that will help them address their immediate funding needs. It’s beneficial for the school systems and local taxpayers.”

Sponsors of A4161 include Senators Andrew Zwicker and Vin Gopal and Assembly members Roy Freiman, Mitchelle Drulis, Pamela Lampitt and Andrea Katz.

“Over 140 districts are experiencing drastic state aid reductions that would require them to make rash cuts to student programs and jobs,” said Senator Andrew Zwicker. “Our public schools are the best in the nation. We cannot let them fall into disarray by asking districts to scale back spending year after year. This program is a stopgap that will provide relief to districts for the upcoming school year as we continue to work to find a stable long-term school funding solution.”

“The partial restoration of aid to eligible schools will provide districts some cushion as we continue our transition under the school funding reform act known as S-2,” said Senator Vin Gopal, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “We have heard testimony from teachers, students, and parents of these cuts’ devastating impact on their districts for months. This move will give additional support and sustain our standard of delivering high-quality public education.”  

“We know that even in the midst of unprecedented school aid and investment in education, many districts are losing state aid,” said Assemblyman Roy Freiman. “This bill recognizes the need to act swiftly, as some school districts are already working on budgetary decisions. Delays in our response could result in devastating staff cuts being implemented that could otherwise be avoided.”

“This legislation represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring districts have the funding they need to make smart decisions on the local level,” said Assemblywoman Mitchelle Drulis. “We must continue to invest in the future of New Jersey families, particularly in the education of our children, ensuring school districts can plan future budgets without compromising the quality of education they deliver.”

"This measure will give tools to districts that are struggling with funding, helping them to retain critical teachers and staff,” said Assemblywoman Pamela R. Lampitt, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “With this signing, these districts will have a better capacity to address challenges at the local level and to make the best decisions for their communities.”

“By investing in our schools we are investing in our future, giving each child access to quality education that will provide a solid foundation for their life ahead,” said Assemblywoman Andrea Katz. “With this bill, we can assist school districts and retain skilled educators and staff, ensuring they possess the necessary resources and support to deliver top-tier education while saving property taxpayers money.”

The second bill (A4059) authorizes the Commissioner of Education to permit certain school districts experiencing a reduction in state aid to submit budgets no later than five days following the enactment of the FY2025 appropriations act.

Sponsors of A4059 include Senator James Beach and Assembly members Pamela Lampitt, Sterley Stanley and Andrea Katz.

“Several districts are facing double-digit percentage state funding cuts compared to last year, and we have a responsibility to give them time to adjust,” said Senator James Beach. “As the Legislature seeks to identify additional aid for these districts through the annual budget process, it is only fair that we provide additional time for them to submit their budgets, so they can be finalized with complete information.”

“When it comes to our children, it is essential that we continue to provide our schools with all of the tools necessary in order to sustain the excellence that has become the hallmark of what it means to be educated here in the State of New Jersey,” said Assemblyman Sterley Stanley. “This legislation will finally give school districts the flexibility they need in order to ensure that they receive support for every student enrolled on the first day of school, not just enrollment projections from the year before.”

"On behalf of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, I would like to thank Governor Murphy and the many legislators who sponsored and supported S3081/A4161 and S3002/A4059 for recognizing that the impact of the final year of implementing the school funding formula could be completely devastating for some districts, choosing to take steps to support the needs of many schools and students. This allows districts time to plan their final budgets and will help many keep teachers in the classroom, maintain reasonable class sizes, and preserve valuable programming that would otherwise have been lost,” said Karen A. Bingert, Executive Director of the NJ Principals and Supervisors Association.

“New Jersey continues to show its commitment to a quality education system for all students through its financial investments. Gov. Murphy’s signature on S3081/A4161, which appropriates $44.7 million to restore 45 percent of state aid to school districts facing cuts under the school funding formula for the 2024-25 academic year, is the latest example. This administration not only talks about how education is the key to success but backs up their words through action and funding. AFT New Jersey thanks Gov. Murphy and the Legislature for continuing to advocate for our children, our members and the communities they serve and live in,” said AFT New Jersey President Donna M. Chiera.

“We appreciate Governor Murphy’s support for maintaining programs and services in school districts,” said Richard Bozza, Executive Director of the NJ Association of School Administrators.

"The NJ Association of School Business Officials is happy that the legislative package S3081/A4161 and S3002/A4059 allowing districts to revise their budgets to reflect the additional funding for fiscal year 2024-25 has been signed by Governor Murphy. This additional funding and the flexibility permitted will help districts to address staffing issues and other problems created by current funding shortfalls.  We look forward to continue working with the administration to find more permanent solutions to providing the necessary resources for our public schools,” said Susan Young, Executive Director of the NJ Association of School Business Officials.

"Save Our Schools NJ thanks the Legislature, particularly Sen. Zwicker for his tireless efforts to bring funding to school districts facing deep cuts by sponsoring S3081. We also thank Governor Murphy for recognizing the urgency of need by signing this bill so quickly. All students in New Jersey deserve to attend schools that are well-resourced. This bill is a step in the right direction," said Julie Larrea Borst, Executive Director of Save Our Schools NJ Community Organizing.

“The New Jersey School Boards Association thanks Governor Murphy, Senate President Scutari, Speaker Coughlin and the Legislature for approving this essential measure, which provides school districts across the state with tools and resources to maintain critical staff, programs and services. The school aid restorations and property tax cap flexibility provided under A-4161/S-3081 will help these districts provide their students with the high-quality education they deserve. We would particularly like to extend our gratitude to the lead sponsors – Senators Zwicker and Gopal, Assemblyman Freiman, and Assemblywomen Drulis, Lampitt and Katz – for their leadership on this issue and their steadfast commitment to the state’s public school students. While this relief is certainly welcome, we recognize that even more work lies ahead, and we must remain laser focused on the matter of how we fund our schools. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Murphy administration and the Legislature as they continue to evaluate the school funding formula to make necessary adjustments to guarantee ALL of New Jersey’s  students receive a thorough and efficient education,” said Timothy Purnell, Executive Director of the New Jersey School Boards Association.

“We are grateful that the Legislature and Gov. Murphy came together to provide this critically needed funding to districts across New Jersey,” said NJEA President Sean M. Spiller. “While it will not replace all of the funds lost in every district, it will go a long way toward preventing the threatened staffing and program cuts that would have hurt so many children across New Jersey. We still have work to do to ensure all schools have reliable and adequate funding every year, so that we don’t need extraordinary measures like this each budget season. We look forward to working with Gov. Murphy, legislative leaders and other education stakeholders to find those solutions and alleviate the need for emergency action like this in the future.”

In his signing statement for A4161, the Governor directs the Commissioner of Education to conduct a comprehensive review assessing the responsible utilization of the additional funding by school districts. Click here to view the signing statement for A4161.

A signing statement on A4059 clarifies that state aid notices were distributed to school districts in February 2024, rather than March 2024. Click here to view the signing statement for A4059.