Jersey City Facing $27 Million State Aid Cut for 2019/20 School Year

Governor Murphy released his proposed fiscal year (FY) 2019/20 budget for NJ and this week, and it included a re-allocation of state education aid. The impact to Jersey City was both expected and gut-wrenchingly sobering: a $27 million cut in “Adjustment Aid”, a type of excess state aid that Jersey City has been receiving for the last 10 years to make up for anemically low local revenues.

For context, if you’re new to this issue:

  • I wrote about these expected cuts several months ago here.
  • I wrote a bit about the school tax levy in this post earlier today.
  • I recently updated my “Property Tax Dashboard” to include 2018 data here; this shows the school tax levy for every city in NJ, thus gives a sense of how much (or how little) a town or city is supporting its public schools with local property taxes.

In this post, I wanted to provide a visualization of the proposed state aid data released today by the NJ Department of Education; these cuts are part of Governor Murphy’s proposal and may end up in a different, final form when the final budget is passed by the Assembly in June. But they give us a pulse point on the direction the state is headed. These aid allocations reveal an attempt, on the part of the state, to structurally re-allocate excess aid from places like Jersey City to other towns and cities across the state. Jersey City is losing $27 million, which means dozens of towns will gain aid that they were currently being shorted. For example, look at Freehold, Red Bank, Cherry Hill, Lyndhurst, Florham Park, just to name a few.

For further reading about state aid, I recommend reading the Education Law Center‘s many reports on NJ education funding and policy, and also NJ Education Aid, a blog written by a former South Orange/Maplewood Board of Education trustee who writes extensively about state aid.