Brick schools cite ‘severe financial crisis’ due to aid cuts

Brick Board of Education Building [FILE PHOTO]

BRICK TOWNSHIP — As the 2019-2020 school year approaches, the Brick Township School District is looking at all viable options to keep the system afloat as its financial constraints are only expected to increase in the years that follow.

Acting Superintendent Sean Cranston described Brick’s predicament as a “severe financial crisis” during the Board of Education Aug. 8 meeting. The district lost $1.9 million in 2018-2019 in state aid under the new Student Funding Reform Act [S2], and lost an additional $4 million-plus in state aid for the 2019-2020 year. 

Over the next five years, the district is set to lose $20 million in state aid. Currently, Brick operates 12 schools, eight elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools. It has an enrollment of approximately 9,000 students.

According to district Business Administrator James Edwards, there are major concerns about the district’s ability to provide its students with a “thorough and efficient education,” which is required by the New Jersey State Constitution. 

Referencing a recently published study by the Education Law Center, Mr. Edwards pointed out that Brick will continue to slip to “below adequacy,” or below the spending amount on each student, which is determined by the state. Under S2, districts can raise tax rates by no more than two percent.

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