Both the Assembly and Senate Budget Committees released the budget bill (S-17 / A-4000) July 23 along party lines. The $34.8 billion budget plan, about 1 percent more than the proposed budget, prioritized several spending initiatives including $25 million in pre-school aid and $20 million total for lead testing. The plan is a mere several hundred million dollars more than Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal. However, the governor is expected to reject the programs via a line-item veto.
In total, under the proposed budget bill, the education sector will receive an additional almost $50 million in aid. Of course, under New Jersey’s Constitutional framework the Governor, upon receipt of the budget bill, will have an opportunity to line item veto the budget prior to adoption by the July 1 due date.
“They are going to pass whatever they are going to pass,” Christie said at a Press Conference earlier in the day. “Then, I get to look at the budget and I get to take my pen out.”
Among the highlighted changes between the originally proposed budget and the introduced Appropriations Act as it relates to education:
- The elimination of the Opportunity Scholarship Act $1 million proposed appropriation included within the Governor’s proposed budget;
- Inclusion of almost a $1 million for Advanced Placement fee reimbursement;
- Additional aid for Adult Education programs and County Vocational School Districts;
- A significant increase in non-public security, technology and nursing aid;
- The inclusion of additional funds for breakfast ‘After the Bell’ to fund an incentive program to provide a 10-cent per breakfast supplement to the existing federal reimbursement;
- The addition of Programmatic Stabilization Aid for Patterson and Egg Harbor Township for increased enrollment with simultaneous decrease in property tax value to the tune of $20 million;
- The inclusion of $25 million for pre-school expansion;
- $20 million for lead testing in schools;
- An increase in aid to charter schools; and
- A decrease in monies related to school construction
NJPSA will keep you posted as the budget bill continues through the legislative process. Stay tuned as we move closer to the July 1 due date when New Jersey’s budget must be in place.