Fight over School Funding Is Focus of Senate Budget Hearing

Teachers, students and administrators rally outside State House to protest cuts in aid to their districts

School funding is shaping up to be a major budget battle this year. Hundreds of teachers, students and administrators rallied outside the State House in Trenton Tuesday over proposed cuts to their districts’ state aid for the next fiscal year.

Many of those districts, including Toms River and Jersey City, have joined lawsuits against the state Department of Education over the loss of funding.

Meanwhile, it was standing-room only at the Senate Budget and Appropriations hearing. Students delivered 30,000 letters to legislators pleading their case. The state’s education commissioner Lamont Repollet testified that emergency aid is available to districts in need — after the budget has been finalized.

Correspondent Briana Vannozzi spoke to NJ Spotlight founding editor and education writer John Mooney about the hearing, and what’s next for districts seeking additional funding.