New Jersey decreases funding for the district

State funding for many schools in New Jersey was slashed for the 2018-2019 school year.

   Eastern was no exception.

   Due to the decline of enrollment of over 200 students within the past ten years, New Jersey redistributed $221,354 from Eastern’s funding to other school districts in the state whose enrollment had increased.

  Mrs. Diane Schiraldi said that these reductions in state aid will continue over the next seven years as the state phases in the total reduction calculated for our district. She serves as the Business Administrator for the Eastern Camden County Regional School District.

  “Once the phase is over,” she said, “total state aid for Eastern will have reduced an estimated 1.9 million dollars.”

  To determine how much funding is allocated to each area in the school, the district completes a budget development process with input from many sources, including teachers, administrators, public comment, and the Board of Education Finance Committee.

  Fortunately for students, no programs had to be cut in order to account for the loss. “It was accomplished by reductions in four areas,” Mrs. Schiraldi said, “including salaries, energy, health benefits, and technology supplies.”

  Budget cuts from the state are infrequent, but when they do happen, they are usually drastic. Under 2008’s School Funding Reform Act, New Jersey attempted to keep funding stable throughout the state’s school districts, but that effort created an issue for schools whose enrollment increased without their state aid increasing in turn. Under S-2, the first major revision to the School Funding Reform Act, these problems sought to be eliminated.

  In the entirety of the state, 391 districts will get more aid, 14 will see no change and 172, including Eastern, will see a reduction, according to the North Jersey Media Group. New Jersey’s taxes are among the highest in the nation, and the portion that goes to local schools is typically the largest part of the bill. With the funding cuts, more pressure could possibly be placed on taxpayers in the Voorhees, Berlin, and Gibbsboro areas.

  This year, several districts in Camden County also had their state aid reduced, along with the Voorhees Township Elementary District, receiving reductions similar to Eastern’s own.

   “These reductions will be a fiscal challenge for us,” Mrs. Schiraldi concluded, “but we are committed to ensuring that the reductions impact our instruction programs as little as possible.