Assemblyman Brandon Umba (R-Medford) introduced an amendment in the Assembly Appropriations Committee today to fund schools losing state aid at 100 percent instead of the proposed 66 percent that was voted on. The amendment was voted down by the Democrat majority on the committee.
Umba ultimately voted yes on bill A5328, which would provide additional state aid of $102.8 million to school districts losing state aid in Governor Phil Murphy’s 2023-24 budget. However, he first put forth an amendment to wholly fund those districts instead of the 2/3rds funding under the bill.
“I thank the sponsor Assemblyman Roy Freiman for pushing this measure to see that our schools get some reprieve from the punishing blows of state funding cuts they’ve dealt with for several years now, but why not go all the way? Our schools are suffering, and in turn our students are too. We need to stop the bleeding and give them their full funding back,” Umba implored.
Legislation labeled S2 was passed five years ago and created a 7-year timeline where certain “overfunded” schools stood to lose millions of dollars in funding each year until the phase in was complete. Now, with only two years left, schools that have lost state aid have no more room to make budget cuts or raise taxes.
“Cutting school aid for 7 straight years was always a crippling solution for the school funding issues we were facing. And without fixing the School Funding Formula, who knows if it was even appropriate to punish these schools. We not only need to stop the cuts, but to open up the funding formula to make it more fair for all of our schools,” Umba said.
“With COVID learning loss taking a huge toll on our children, now would be the worst time to compound on that with funding cuts. If anything, we need more support for proven solutions like high-impact tutoring,” he continued.