💲The Jackson school district was granted a $10.2 million loan

💲A state monitor in place is one of the terms of the loan

💲The county school superintendent says the district is financially responsible

A state monitor has been appointed to oversee Jackson Township public schools after the district secured a $10.2 million, interest-free loan for the current school year.

“As we explained during the last budget season, the loss of $18 million in aid over six years made it necessary to seek a loan from the state to balance our 2023-2024 budget,” Superintendent Nicole Pormilli said in a statement Tuesday.

“That loan comes with certain conditions — and one of those conditions is having a state monitor work with us to continue to operate as efficiently as possible."

At the budget meeting in May, Pormilli said the district had reached a "fiscal cliff" which led to the elimination of 64 total positions. Class sizes were increased and the ice hockey and gymnastics were cut but it was not enough, according to the superintendent.

"We just could not cut any deeper because we knew this was not going to bring our students an efficient education. It was wrong. It was not giving them everything they deserve and need," Pormilli said.

Voters rejected more spending

Pormilli said the loan is unrelated to the overwhelming rejection by voters on Nov. 7 of a $4 million referendum which was earmarked for specific expenditures. It would also have permanently raised taxes. The question was defeated 64%-36%.

The Lakewood Scoop was first to report on the monitor.

Jackson school budget presentation about why a loan is needed
Jackson school budget presentation about why a loan is needed (Jackson School District)

District deemed fiscally responsible

Several meetings with then-county school superintendent Charles Muller and a line-by-line review of the budget determined that the district had been fiscally responsible but has a revenue problem.

"He supports the application for a loan from the Department of Education in order to not have this district to not have an efficient program for all of our students," Pormilli said. "It really is the only mechanism the Department of Education has to support the district at this point."

Repayment of the loan begins with the 2024-25 school year and will be paid back over 10 years.

Carole Knopp-Morris was appointed as monitor and has been in the district for a week, according to Pormilli.

The former superintendent, executive superintendent of schools and assistant superintendent will direct the operation and fiscal management of district facilities and help develop a plan to overcome the district’s financial deficiencies.

The monitor will also have final approval of all purchase activities and payment of bills and claims.


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