Hillsborough Schools will receive an addition $1 million in state aid for the 2011-2012 school year, doubling the aid it was expected to receive for the year.
"We are pleased that the Governor has decided to add to our state aid money," Hillsborough Superintendent Jorden Schiff said. "We are getting double our aid for the 2011-2012 school year. That is what every non-Abbott District received."
Hillsborough received a $1,033,332 increase in state aid for the 2011-2012 school year when funding was announced in February 2011. The increase in aid came as part of an $850-million allocation plan for the 2012 fiscal year budget that was announced by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration on Tuesday.
But it’s still less than the funding the district received in 2009-2010, prior the state’s $5 million in aid—an about 19 percent decrease in state funds.
"We're still far away from the 2009-2010 numbers," Schiff said. "According to the latest numbers, we are still about 3 million in the hole from two years ago. Though this is great and we appreciate it, it's not near two years ago."
The $850 million increase is made up of three different parts: an initial $250 million that was initially authorized in increased school aid, an additional $150 million for non-Abbott districts, and $450 million to Abbott districts, which is slightly more than half of the total aid.
That $450 million is being distributed amongst 31 districts. That additional funding, according to a release by the Christie administration, fully funds the Abbott districts under the School Funding Reform Act formula.
“This year, New Jersey increased state aid to school districts by $850 million over last year, restoring every dollar of the cuts we were forced to make last year and increasing aid by an additional $30 million,” Christie said in the release.
The aid comes more than a year after the administration made aid cuts to all districts, which were announced on St. Patrick’s Day 2010. In many cases, the additional aid announced on Tuesday doubled the amount that was initially designated for non-Abbott districts.
In Hillsborough, the aid increase means discussions for board members, once the district receives confirmation on the numbers and instructions on any aid restrictions.
"We're going to be discussing a lot of different needs and issues," Schiff said. "I am assuming that there are no restrictions but that may not be the case."
Schiff said the district would consider its elementary foreign language program, which was cut last year and is out of compliance with state mandates, its potential charter school payment obligations, and other areas.
"I think it's also prudent that we look to use some of this money toward property tax relief," Schiff said. "It's finding a balance between reducing class sizes and taxes and also supporting our staff and kids."
Schiff will provide recommendations regarding the money to the district's Personnel Committee and the board will discuss the matters in public during one of its meetings.