The Maplewood Township Committee passed a resolution 5-0 Tuesday night that calls for the state to reevaluate the way it distributes school aid.
Similar to measures passed by the South Orange Board of Trustees and the South Orange – Maplewood Board of Education, the resolution supports a more equitable distribution of state aid under the SFRA [School Funding Reform Act]. It was drafted by Committeeman Greg Lembrich.
See the full resolution here as a PDF:
The resolution will be forwarded to Senator Richard Codey, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, Assemblyman John McKeon, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and others.
Currently, 220 NJ districts receive 100% or more of their SFRA uncapped aid and 118 districts — including SOMSD — receive 50% or less.
Under the current formula, South Orange-Maplewood receives 46% of its SRFA uncapped aid, leaving local property taxes to fund more than 94% of the school budget, Lembrich explained. Further, state aid for SOMSD has not been restored since it was significantly reduced in 2010-11, despite the district’s growing enrollment.
In a recent Village Green article, former BOE member Jeff Bennett explained that “Districts that have become wealthier haven’t lost aid and retain the aid they merited when they were poor” while “districts that have become poorer haven’t gained aid in proportion to their new needs.”
Township Committeeman Marlon K. Brownlee said he would not favor a resolution that presents the state aid conundrum simply as a “zero-sum game” wherein certain districts lose a percentage of aid while others gain. However, he said he supported the resolution as drafted.