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NJ Cities to See Small School Aid Increases

Urban school districts in New Jersey are in line for smaller state aid increases by percent than many suburban schools under a new plan from the state Education Department.

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The state released its district-by-district subsidy plans on Thursday.

The state plans to send $7.9 million to schools in the 2014-15 academic year, an increase of .4 percent over this school year. Every district is to get more.

Districts including Newark, Camden, Trenton, Jersey City and Paterson are in line to see increases of .1 percent.

The districts with the largest increases, of 5 percent or more, are well-off suburbs and some shore communities. But those districts get smaller amounts of state aid and it accounts for a much smaller portion of their budgets.

For instance, Millburn in Essex County stands to see its aid increase by $99,000, a hike of 5 percent, but would still receive less than $2 million from the state. Nearby Newark’s aid would increase by more than $950,000 to $715 million.

David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, which has battled with the state government to try to get better funding for low-income districts, said in a statement Thiursday that the increases are small enough that many schools would have to cut teachers, librarians and other staff.

He says the state needs to pay more for schools.

The state Education Department is emphasizing that the proposed aid amounts would be the highest ever in the state. “However, it is important to understand that it’s not only how much we spend on education, but how effectively we spend our education dollars that matters,” Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf said in a statement.

 

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

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