TRENTON — If the school-funding compromise struck by Democratic legislative leaders gets enacted, 379 districts would share $146 million in additional aid for the school year that starts in September but 126 others would lose $46 million.

District-level details of the compromise struck Wednesday were made public Thursday morning. It wouldn’t change aid for the coming year for 74 districts – but would mean aid increases of 10 percent or more for 70 districts, and aid reductions of 5 percent or more for 50 districts.

Those changes reflect proposed differences from what districts were promised in early March, when the state Department of Education sent aid notices shortly after Christie proposed the budget in a speech to the Legislature. Districts have adopted budgets based on those figures.

The changes would require the agreement of Gov. Chris Christie, who had asked lawmakers to come up with a school-funding fix by early June but isn’t yet convinced of the merits of the current plan.

“The governor is willing to consider the proposal but he has some concerns about fairness,” said spokesman Brian Murray.

In terms of dollars, not percentages, here are the biggest winners and losers:

Districts that would see aid increase by $1M or more:

County District Increase
Union Elizabeth City $7,513,407
Essex Newark City $7,495,222
Atlantic Atlantic City $6,063,679
Middlesex Woodbridge Twp $5,667,485
Passaic Paterson City $4,803,169
Passaic Clifton City $3,890,616
Middlesex New Brunswick City $3,305,069
Hudson Bayonne City $3,245,696
Middlesex North Brunswick Twp $3,087,935
Cumberland Bridgeton City $2,502,702
Union Plainfield City $2,476,382
Hudson Kearny Town $2,452,383
Hudson Union City $2,379,702
Bergen Hackensack City $2,248,735
Essex Bloomfield Twp $2,196,545
Union Linden City $2,069,473
Passaic Passaic County Vocational $2,039,360
Mercer Trenton City $1,967,835
Bergen Elmwood Park $1,803,123
Somerset Bound Brook Boro $1,731,843
Hudson West New York Town $1,707,228
Passaic Passaic City $1,706,122
Essex West Orange Town $1,682,789
Middlesex Edison Twp $1,630,364
Atlantic Egg Harbor Twp $1,626,958
Mercer East Windsor Regional $1,620,608
Bergen Lodi Borough $1,445,661
Atlantic Atlantic Co Vocational $1,387,398
Hudson North Bergen Twp $1,374,173
Bergen Fairview Boro $1,356,718
Morris Dover Town $1,332,660
Essex City Of Orange Twp $1,318,095
Camden Cherry Hill Twp $1,143,421
Essex Belleville Town $1,135,837
Middlesex Sayreville Boro $1,118,630
Bergen Ridgefield Park Twp $1,115,355
Middlesex Piscataway Twp $1,114,013
Monmouth Freehold Boro $1,069,861
Middlesex Perth Amboy City $1,057,522
Somerset North Plainfield Boro $1,053,432
Camden Lindenwold Boro $1,042,802
Gloucester Monroe Twp $1,009,216

Districts that would see aid drop by $1M or more:

County District Reduction
Hudson Jersey City $8,545,482
Ocean Toms River Regional $3,324,453
Essex East Orange $3,138,697
Ocean Brick Twp $2,162,713
Gloucester Washington Twp $2,069,211
Cumberland Vineland City $2,059,792
Burlington Pemberton Twp $1,604,604
Monmouth Neptune Twp $1,302,322
Monmouth Manalapan-Englishtown Reg $1,249,210
Monmouth Middletown Twp $1,179,200

See full list of school districts — scroll to end of article.

The drop in Jersey City would be $8.5 million – which amounts to a 2 percent cut in state aid. The reduction is Toms River would be $3.3 million, a close to 5 percent drop in state aid.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson, said he didn’t want to take money from any districts for the upcoming school year, because they’ve already adopted budgets, but that he had to compromise.

“Given we minimized the amount of aid that is taken from some districts and that will hopefully be able to live with that in this year," Prieto said.

The changes produce a net loss in state aid to schools in 10 of the 40 legislative districts. Those include six of the seven that border the Atlantic coast, all but Atlantic County's 2nd District. Six of the 10 are among the 13 districts where all three state lawmakers are Republicans.

Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, said the adjusted aid figures reflect the results of actually running the school funding formula, then limiting the reductions to 1.5 percent of a district's budget.

"There was no games played, no favoritism played to any one particular school district, no favorites played with regards to partisan politics," Sarlo said. "We ran the formula and took a percentage off of those that were overfunded. So there was no games, no brinkmanship, no favoritisms played here."

Republicans haven't like the School Funding Reform Act since it was adopted in 2008. Christie wanted to scrap it entirely in favor of one that provided equal per-pupil aid to all districts regardless of their socioeconomic status but has dropped the idea.

Elizabeth and Newark gain the most money under the plan, roughly $7.5 million each, followed by Atlantic City at $6 million and Woodbridge at $5.7 million. For 11 districts, the changes would boost state financial support by more than 25 percent.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said school funding is one of the most important things the Legislature needs to focus on.

“This is step one, and we said this was going to be a multiple step process to get to full funding,” Sweeney said. “Step one was to start getting the formula back into play.”

Step two, presuming Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy wins in November, is a hike in income taxes for rich.

“Next year, January, and we will do it when the new governor is sworn in, the day the new governor is sworn in, we will put up a millionaires tax. It will generate a minimum of $600 million” and bring every district in the state over 70 percent of full formula funding, Sweeney said.

“It’s a process. It’s going to take time. But in two years, we are going to really make an enormous amount of progress. So for me, this is the beginning,” Sweeney said. “… We’ve said it’s going to take five years. It might take seven years. But we absolutely can fully fund the formula, and we will fully fund the formula.”

The school-aid changes planned by legislative leaders would also add $25 million for preschool programs, focused on districts with higher concentrations of poverty that don’t qualify for the full-day preschool funded to comply with state Supreme Court rulings.

The distribution of that aid isn’t reflected in the district-level breakdowns, as it would be determined later based on competitive bidding by the eligible districts.

Who wins or loses?

New Jersey: Decoded cuts through the cruft and gets to what matters in New Jersey news and politics. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at

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