New Jersey’s distribution of state aid is appallingly unfair. While there are 199 districts that get 100% or more of what SFRA (New Jersey’s state aid law) recommends, every other district is underaided and there are 141 that get not even 50% of what SFRA recommends. For 51 districts, the gap in per pupil terms exceeds $4,000.
Of these neglected districts, Bound Brook stands as New Jersey’s MOST UNDERAIDED DISTRICT.
In per pupil terms, Bound Brook is underaided by $9,176 per student.
Indeed, Bound Brook's uncapped aid is $24 million, but Bound Brook only gets $8.2 million. Since there is a $15.8 million aid deficit and Bound Brook has 1,744 students, the aid gap is -$9,176 per student.
Due to this underaiding, Bound Brook’s schools only spend $11,400 per student, despite having a population that is 73% FRL-eligible (which is nearly the Abbott average) and 14% Limited English (which exceeds the Abbott average).
Bound Brook is over $5,000 per student below Adequacy and face nothing but cuts to a budget that is already at its bare bones.
Bound Brook’s taxes are 130% of Local Fair Share, and the local taxpayers cannot realistically prevent deeper cuts just by digging deeper into their own pockets.
Bound Brook, like many other underaided districts, was promised help in the School Funding Reform Act of 2008, but this help has never arrived due to the state’s own intractable budgetary problems.
If the state aid pain were evenly shared Bound Brook’s situation would be more acceptable than it is, but reality is nothing like this.
Amidst the neglect here are 199 districts that get more than what SFRA recommends. For 51 districts, the aid surplus exceeds $4,000 per student. For Asbury Park, the aid surplus is $10,900 per student, an excess amount is only $500 per student less than the TOTAL spending of Bound Brook and several other low-resource districts.
The total amount of excess aid given to New Jersey’s overaided districts is $567 million, of which Jersey City alone gets $130 million above what SFRA’s (generous) formula indicates it needs. Because of its tremendous aid stream, Jersey City’s tax levy is only the 17th highest in New Jersey, even though it has by far the state’s largest tax base.
We, residents and allies of Bound Brook, demand that New Jersey’s aid distribution match the current distribution of student need and tax base capacity! We call for Adjustment Aid to be eliminated and rechanneled as Equalization Aid so that the students of New Jersey’s neediest districts can benefit.