Governor Chris Christie's announcement on Tuesday that he plans to allocate an additional $850,000 million in aid to New Jersey schools in the 2012 fiscal budget will bring in another $777,421 in aid for Bernards Township.
"It is in addition to the $777,421 that we knew about," Schools Superintendent Valerie Goger said on Tuesday afternoon. Initially, she said she believed the $777,421 increase in aid listed on a state website for projected aid increases was the same increase in aid for the 2011-12 school year the governor had announced last spring.
However, Goger later said she believes the increase in state aid announced last spring is being doubled for next year.
The superintendent said that as of late Tuesday afternoon the district had not yet received guidance from the state Department of Education. She said she would provide further information when it is available.
The previous year, state aid to Bernards schools had been cut from about $3 million to about $848,000 for the 2010-11 school year. As of late last February, projected aid for the 2011-12 school year had been increased to about $1.6 million for 2011-12.
Christie announced on Tuesday he would to provide "the resources and reform to improve education for every New Jersey child," with an allocation plan for $850 million in new aid authorized for New Jersey schools in the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget.
This increased funding for state education includes the governor’s initial $250 million increase for all school districts, as well as an additional $450 million for the so-called Abbott districts, determined to be the state's poorest schools, and an additional $150 million for non-Abbott districts, according to information from the governor's office.
The new funding will boost total state aid to education to higher in fiscal year 2012 than it was when Christie took office, according to the governor's announcement.
"This year, New Jersey increased state aid to school districts by $850 million over last year, restoring every dollar of the cuts we were forced to make last year and increasing aid by an additional $30 million," Christie said in the announcement. "We are keeping faith with our commitment to New Jersey’s children and families, spending more money per pupil on New Jersey’s students than almost any other state in the country," Christie said.
In the announcement, Christie also called for "real education reform to bring a focus on student learning, accountability and results," to complement additional dollars spent.
This increase in education aid will provide property tax relief to New Jerseyans as the state increases its support for local schools, according to the governor's announcement.
"Being able to provide additional education funding to districts this year further affirms this Administration’s commitment to ensuring each and every child in New Jersey receives a quality education," said Acting State Education Commissioner Chris Cerf. "It is now time to focus on aggressive education reform, concentrating on improving standards, assessments, and curriculum; strengthening the use of performance and accountability data; improving educator effectiveness; and investing in innovative models of educational delivery."
Christie said he is committed to making 2011 the year of education reform. He said his reform agenda brings necessary and long overdue changes to the public education system that focuses on accountability, makes teacher effectiveness and student achievement the driving forces behind public policies and practices, empowers parents with greater school choice, and expands high quality public charter schools in New Jersey to ensure that every child in our state has access to a quality education and achieves the results they deserve.
The reinstatement of the nine period day at Ridge High School was among the major budget items that had initially been cut for the 2011-12 school year before the would nearby double from the previous year.
Under Gov. Chris Christie's budget, it was on Feb. 23 announced that Bernards schools will receive $1,625,312 next year—an increase of $777,421 from the 2010-11 allotment of $847,891.
The additional aid announced at that time was included in the approved 2011-12 school budget.