State aid cuts could become legal battle for Brick schools

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Brick Township Board of Education office. FILE PHOTO / THE OCEAN STAR

BRICK TOWNSHIP — The Board of Education for the Brick Public School District will vote on a resolution Thursday to take legal action in response to the loss of $1.9 million in state aid to the district this year. 

According to the agenda for the board meeting on Oct. 11, which is set for 7 p.m. at the Brick Professional Development Center at 101 Hendrickson Ave., “Brick Township Public School District hereby determines to initiate litigation to address the unequal and disparate results caused by the School Funding Reform Act’s [SFRA] distribution of available State Aid and its impact upon its local taxpayers.”

District officials are estimating the loss of $23 million over the next seven years under the current SFRA. 

The legal action has the support of the Brick Township council. At the township council meeting on Oct. 10, members on the dais voted unanimously for a resolution to support the district in any legal action taken.

Mayor John Ducey did not mince words, saying that state lawmakers have “stolen” from students in the district. 

“Senator [Stephen] Sweeny and our legislators passed an ordinance that is robbing our children of school funds,” he said.

“Our kids are getting a bunch of monies stolen from them from our state government and it’s being given to other towns.

If approved at Thursday’s meeting, the board resolution would allow the district to retain the Weiner Law Group, of Parsippany, to represent the district. 

“Our district, along with others, must make our voices heard on behalf of the students and our community,” Superintendent of Schools Gerard Dalton said.

Members of the board of education have said in the past that they feel the state has overlooked the number of English language learners in the district, along with the district’s high percentage of special needs students.

A drop in retables since Superstorm Sandy is another factor the state has ignored, members of the board of education have said. 

“We need to pursue all avenues to protect our schools and to obtain our fair share of funding,” Stephanie Wohlrab, Board of Education president, said.

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.