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Verona Waits for State Aid Figures

District is anxious to see if it will be included in the 377 New Jersey school districts to see an increase.

The Verona Board of Education is waiting to see if they will be among the 377 school districts to see an increase in state aide as promised in Gov. Chris Christie's 2013 budget address.

The 2013 New Jersey budget will provide an increase of $87 million in school aid, bringing the total state aid in education to almost $9 billion, said Christie during his Tuesday night address.

However, only 377 out of the 600 New Jersey School District's will be seeing an increase, said Verona Board of Education member Joseph Bellino during Tuesday night's board meeting.

“The other 233 that will not be sharing in the increase will maintain what they have,” said Bellino.

Last time the board met the budget was about $700,000 to $800,000 over what they originally anticipated, he continued.

“The $700,000 over is simply a matter of taking our budget and building into the number all the things we feel are priority items for us to include,” said board President John Quattrocchi. “We built the budget, looked at what we need to do to run the place properly and that puts us about $700,000 over. We will wean that down and the numbers will be clearer.”

Of this money, $200,000 is designated to keep special education students in the district, something that would cost the district much more if they were to send the students to another district.

Another $30,000 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.

“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.”

Whether Verona will be included in the lucky district's to see an increase remains to be seen.

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