School board discusses 2021-22 budget

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Ocean Road School, Point Pleasant [FILE PHOTO]

POINT PLEASANT — State aid and the effect of the coronavirus pandemic are just several factors anticipated to impact this years school budget according to officials during Monday’s workshop meeting of the Point Pleasant School District Board of Education.

On Feb. 8, Business Administrator Steven Corso gave a preliminary presentation to the board regarding the ongoing development of the 2021-2022 budget, which is expected to be officially presented to the school community at the board’s April 12 meeting.

“Since S2 was implemented in 2018-2019 we have seen a reduction in state aid of approximately $964,000. This is supposed to be our worst year if you look at the projections,” Mr. Corso said. “If everything stays the same and the state doesn’t tweak the formula we are looking at in year four a loss of $624,000 in state aid and that would then be a cumulative number of $1.6 million that we have lost in state aid from year one.”

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Gov. Phil Murphy signed S2 into law in 2018. Under S2, aid to “overfunded” districts will be reduced and aid to underfunded districts will be increased over the course of seven years. Judge Mary C. Jacobson recently ordered the state Department of Education to release the long-sought algorithm code behind New Jersey’s S2 school-funding formula. Receipt of the algorithm follows two years of lawsuits filed by a coalition of affected school districts.

“There has been a lawsuit against the state to try to get the secret formula and they actually did successfully obtain it … but they have to hire people because there is bunch of stuff in it that they can’t figure out how they came up with some of those numbers so whether they do something different who knows but this is what we are expecting to lose this year and that’s the bad news,” Mr. Corso said.

“Again we are supposed to lose over the 7-year period 45 percent and I think this year it is going to be worse than that $624,000 because our enrollment is down 129 students … and that is going to affect our funds.”

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