Help us Restore and Preserve MILLIONS of Dollars in State Aid for Jackson

  • What is Happening?

    The Jackson School District has joined a coalition of districts in a unified fight to restore and preserve millions of dollars in state aid that will be lost under what we consider to be an unjust and inequitable school funding law known a S2.

    What is at stake?

    Under this funding law, the Jackson School District stands to lose a total of $17.3 million in aid over seven years. This is having a devastating impact on our programs and students.

What Can Residents Do?

Background:

  • Timeline:

    • April 2022: Superintendent Nicole Pormilli submitted formal testimony to NJ Senate Budget Hearings held April 21, 2022 detailing the impact of S2 budget cuts in Jackson and imploring legislators and the Governor to correct the damage the cuts have inflicted.
    • Spring 2022: JSD is again submitting an application to the Department of Education for Stabilization Aid, and our NJ District 12 Legislators are advocating on our behalf for that aid.
    • 2020, 2021, 2022 and Ongoing: District discusses concerns with 12th NJ District Legislators, who have sponsored/introduced/are developing multiple pieces of legislation aimed at school aid relief, including: Bills to increase school aid for busing non-public school students; Fully restore the school aid cut to bring funding back to 2017-18 levels; and increase Stabilization Aid available from proposed $20 million to $100 million.
    • March 2019 - Jackson BOE Approves funding to support lawsuit to demand funding formula be released by NJ DOE.
    • October 2018 - Commissioner denies district appeal. District clarifies each denial criteria and asks for reconsideration.
    • October 2018 - District joins other towns in lawsuit to block state aid cuts.
    • August 2018 - District appeals funding cuts, explaining our ability to provide a quality education while being efficient and responsible.
    • July 2018 - State announces it is taking $1.35 million away from our students, distressing what was already a very tight budget. We were forced to apply $600,000 in anticipated surplus - which is money we will not be able to fold back into the following year’s budget. We were also forced to lose two positions we need (a behaviorist and a foreign language teacher) and to cut non-salary line items to make up for the remaining $752,314 loss.
    • March 2018 - After many years of struggling with stagnant state aid, district receives a very slight increase to our state aid and creates a budget that supports curriculum but makes only limited investments in other areas. Even with the very small increase we received, we were still forced to lose 14 positions. We also had to scale down facilities improvements drastically, reject technology, other improvements and initiatives in order to stay within the two percent cap.

Power in Numbers: Our Coalition to Fight for Fair Funding

  • fist bumping over computers

    The Jackson School District has joined an alliance of school districts, municipalities and tax payers to actively oppose the devastating financial impact caused by the reduction of state aid resulting from P.L. 2018, Chapter 67, otherwise known as S2.

    This alliance is a coalition of eight school districts which have the support of their respective town councils through adopted resolutions. Together, we issued the following release:

    The SFRA (School Funding Reform Act) is a weighted school-funding formula, the goal of which was to create a fair, equitable, and predictable formula to fund New Jersey’s school districts. The law ... has done no such thing. Despite rigorous advocacy efforts, we have been forced to file a legal action before the Commissioner of Education because our efforts to discuss the severe and negative impact that the state aid reduction will have on students, educational programming (planning for the future), and the taxpayers in our districts have fallen on deaf ears.

    Although we would have preferred to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the DOE to address a path forward to check the dire educational impairments caused by the reduction in state aid, the DOE seemingly is not interested in confronting the calamitous impact of S2. Instead of State Aid being determined in accord with the SFRA and its related and predicate constitutional mandates, it is instead being determined arbitrarily and without transparency, and the levels of funding provided to Petitioning School Districts by the DOE renders them unable to provide their students with a thorough and efficient education as required by the State Constitution and Supreme Court mandate. We do not object to the funding of any school district which is satisfied with its State aid, nor do we seek in any manner whatsoever to have State aid reduced to any non-petitioning district.

    Because of the underfunding, each of the Petitioning Districts is unable (or at immediate risk of being unable) to provide needed programs without being forced to place an additional and more excessive burden on their tax payers, and, in some instances, unable to do so altogether because of the State-imposed cap on property tax increases. Among the consequences will be staffing reductions, the failure to hire additional staff (despite recognized student needs), the elimination or reduction of programs and curriculum offerings, the discontinuance of both enrichment and extra-curricular activities, to name but a few of the negative impacts being considered.

    Simply put, S2 will have dire and unintended consequences for the students in many districts whose state aid will be reduced over the next six (6) years. If fully enacted, the reduction in state aid will result in a catastrophic effect on educational programming for students. It is our fervent hope to avoid such a disastrous outcome. Of course, we remain willing and eager to mutually find an acceptable solution.


    The coalition is represented by the Weiner Law Group, LLP.