Verona-Cedar Grove Schools Miss Out on State Aid Increases
New Jersey Department of Education announced Verona and Cedar Grove will receive the same amount of state funding as last year.
[Updated Fri. March 1, 11:30 a.m.]
State aid for the 2013-14 school year for both the Verona and Cedar Grove school districts will remain flat, figures released by the state Thursday afternoon revealed.
Both districts were hopeful they would see a significant increase in state aid after Gov. Chris Christie promised 377 districts across the state would receive increases in funding during Tuesday's 2013 budget address.
According to the New Jersey Department of Education, Cedar Grove will be receiving the same amount of state aid, $723,287, as the previous year. Verona will receive $843,727, the same amount that district received last year.
"In my opinion this is always good news when we can maintain state aide from one year to the next that enables us to work within the guidelines which the state has put into place so to contain property taxes," said Cedar Grove Superintendent Dr. Gene Polles.
"We will continue to develop a budget within the state mandates over the next few weeks," he continued. "It will be interesting to see what formula the state utilized this year to determine who did or did not receive additional aid."
Verona Board of Education members recently said they are about $700,000 to $800,000 over what they originally anticipated in the budget.
Of that money, $200,000 is designated to keeping special education students in the district, a cost the district would have to find some way to pay for on its own. Another $30,000 of that cost is for a new teacher and principal evaluation system that is mandated by the state.
The remaining $470,000 will have to be dropped unless Verona is among the school districts that will be seeing an increase in state aid, said Verona Board of Education Member Joseph Bellino during Tuesday night's meeting.
“The rest of what was on that list has been rejected by the administration,” said Bellino. “Even though it was prioritized, is not even being considered, unless of course we are part of the 377 districts to get an increase in state aid.”
"We will have to make some cuts from the budget," said Verona Superintendent Steven Forte on Thursday, just after the numbers were released by the NJDOE.
The Verona Board of Education will hold a special budget meeting on Tuesday, March 5 at Verona High School to discuss the budget.
Forte was not immediately prepared to discuss the budget cuts.
"It think it is unfair that we are still short $600,000 in aid as compared to pre-2010 levels," he said.