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Doing the Math on State Aid to New Jersey Schools

NJ Spotlight's budget tool makes it easy to see how schools fared over two tumultuous years.

Gov. Chris Christie’s cuts in aid to public schools last year were applied more or less equally across all districts. The same is true for the partial restorations proposed for this year.

School Aid - By School District

Last year, the cuts were up to 5 percent of a district’s overall budget. This year, it’s up to 1 percent of the same budget that Christie has proposed to restore.

But how that plays out over two years in individual communities varies widely in terms of the actual state aid each receives, according to a new NJ Spotlight analysis of three years of state aid figures.

For instance, wealthier suburban communities, by and large, are still seeing a greater share of their state aid reduced from 2009-2010, on average close to 50 percent.

Even with the restoration, there remain 63 districts that have lost 75 percent to 80 percent of their aid from two years ago.

But it is the poorer communities -- those that see the bulk of their budgets paid by the state -- that have lost the far greater dollar sum. Of the state’s poorest 39 districts, the average cut over two years was close to $15 million each.

Among the highlights, the biggest percentage cuts over two years:

  • Carlstadt (Bergen) -80% (-$354,640)
  • Secaucus (Hudson) -80% (-1,315,805)
  • Paramus (Bergen) -80% (-$2,836,519)
  • Mendham Township -80% (-$612,233)
  • Hanover Park Regional (Morris) -80% (-$1,152,406)
  • Deal (Monmouth) -80% (-$109,169)
  • Rumson (Monmouth) -80% (-$530,115)

The biggest dollar amounts cut over two years:

  • Newark: -$115,897,291 (-15%)
  • Jersey City: -$75,922 (-16%)
  • Paterson: -$64,596,069 (-15%)
  • Elizabeth: -$59,196,687 (-18%)
  • Trenton: -$36,624,909 (-14%)
  • Camden: -$36,498,325 (-12%)

The smallest percentage cuts over two years:

  • Folsom (Atlantic) -5% (-$261,560)
  • Cumberland Regional (Cumberland) -6% (-$755,772)
  • Salem County Vocational 7% (-$298,752)
  • Woodlynne (Camden) -7% (-$455,158)
  • Mount Holly (Burlington) -7% (-$712,370)
  • Lakehurst (Ocean) -7% (-$437,112)
  • Lindenwold (Camden) -7% (-$1,713,563)
  • Manchester Regional (Passaic) -7% (-$385,680)
  • Hi Nella (Camden) -7% (-$58,982)
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