Brick schools join rally in Trenton over state aid cuts

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BRICK TOWNSHIP — Echoing chants of “Save Our Schools!” could be heard up and down State Street outside the Statehouse in Trenton on Tuesday, as hundreds of residents and school officials from every corner of the state rallied in an effort to convince the Gov, Phil Murphy to return lost state aid dramatically impacting their districts.

Members of the Brick Township Board of Education and Mayor John Ducey joined the rallying ranks in the state capital after travelling on buses provided by the district for anyone interested in attending the protest that coincided with the governor’s annual budget address to the State Assembly.

Representatives of 71 school districts outside the statehouse, organized as Support Our Students [S.O.S.],  protested the sweeping re-allocation of state aid to their school districts passed in July of last year. In the 2018-2019 school year, Brick Township lost $1.9 million in aid. According to Brick Superintendent Gerard Dalton, who attended the rally, continuing this state aid model would have disastrous effects on the school district over the next five years, including having to cut an estimated 290 members of its staff as well as cutting other sports and programs currently offered.

“In the next five years … I don’t know how we’re going to run classrooms. Next year we’re going to be looking at over 30 students in some of our classes, sizes where we can’t even fit the classes in the rooms,” Mr. Dalton said in Trenton on Tuesday.

“[We’d be] Cutting programs, but even that’s not going to be enough and I’m concerned about [the students]. I don’t want to have to cut sports and other activities because I think it keeps kids in safe environments and off the streets and involved and the research is clear: the students that get involved do better in school.”

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