Governor’s FY 2025 Budget Proposal Achieves Full Funding of School Funding Reform Act

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On Tuesday, February 27, Governor Phil Murphy presented his annual Budget Address to a joint session of the NJ State Legislature. NJPSA was at the State House for this important state event! Murphy stated that his budget proposal was designed to support working and middle class families, maintain fiscal responsibility measures, make life more affordable for more families through cost reductions and new opportunities, and protect the fundamental rights of New Jersey citizens. The Governor’s Budget in Brief document contains important details of his proposal. 

Governor Murphy cited his budget record in many areas, including a priority of providing more than $2 billion in direct property tax relief to citizens (NJ ANCHOR program, Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit). He discussed important programs that provide relief to families including funding for prescription drug assistance, school meals for all students in need, an expansion of free preschool opportunities for families, and significant investments in education, housing, workforce development, infrastructure, and small business growth. Murphy also honored his commitment to public employees by making the full pension payment ($7.1 billion) to the state’s public employee retirement systems for the fourth year in a row! NJPSA applauds the Governor and State Legislature’s steady commitment to our members’ pensions!

His address also tackled some long-standing issues, including the need for an investment in NJ Transit, through the creation of a new, dedicated revenue stream called the Corporate Transit Fee, which would apply to only the largest and most successful businesses earning more than $10 million in profits annually.  

In terms of new initiatives, Governor Murphy followed up on his announcement during his State of the State address to invest in the opportunities created for all sectors through innovations in Artificial Intelligence, calling this investment his “AI Moonshot” to develop future opportunities for New Jersey. Murphy also proposed important support for the needs of veterans including investments in our state’s veteran’s hospitals and efforts to provide housing for homeless veterans.  

On the fiscal responsibility side of the ledger, the Governor proposed spending reductions totaling more than $1 billion across state agencies and programs. He cited the anticipated loss of federal COVID investments, which will end for many sectors of our economy in the upcoming fiscal year.  His proposal continues to include a $6.1 billion budget surplus for potential state emergencies during the upcoming fiscal year.

Education Proposals

The FY 2025 budget proposal provides $21.6 billion in funding for pre-K to 12 education, a $1 billion increase over last year. If enacted as proposed, the Governor’s budget will hit an important milestone that the education community has been seeking for many years – the full funding of the School Funding Reform Act. Governor Murphy proposes completing a seven-year cycle of investment in our schools to achieve full funding of the SFRA in FY 25 by increasing state aid to districts by $908 million over last year’s funding levels. This investment is designed to address inflationary growth in school costs as well as providing important investments in pensions and health benefits for educators. During the Murphy Administration, school aid has increased by 43% over his years in office.

Despite this historic investment, NJPSA understands that some school districts will not be receiving state aid increases but, instead, may face devastating cuts due to the 2018 passage of S2 which redistributed school aid under the SFRA. As state aid figures are released later this week, NJPSA urges all negatively impacted school districts to reach out to the NJPSA Government Relations Team for support. Within the next week or so, public hearings will be held where the public, including NJPSA members and their districts, may testify about the impact of the proposed state aid figures on their district. The date, time, and locations are included at the end of this article.

Specific Education Program Investments

In addition to the significant increases in educator pensions and K-12 state aid overall, the budget proposal includes the following specific investments for education:

Literacy Supports

  • The Department of Education will continue to focus on learning acceleration and literacy. The Department announced a $52 million grant program for high-impact tutoring, a highly effective and evidence-based intervention, in July, which provides funding to districts for high dosage, targeted interventions. 
  • The budget also continues to support the Reading Acceleration Professional Integrated Development (RAPID) and RAPID Plus grant programs, which are designed to train K6 educators in best practices in reading and writing development. Educators will also be trained on strategies to improve student outcomes and evidence-based interventions. 
  • The budget also includes a $2.5 million allocation for a grant program to help school districts acquire literacy screening tools, which will help target resources to children most in need of support. 

A four-bill package on literacy has been introduced by Senator Teresa Ruiz, which includes a mandate for school districts to screen students in grades K-3 three times a year to identify students with reading deficiencies. This budget proposal could support that screening mandate if this legislation is enacted. 

Artificial Intelligence 

  • To help prepare our students for the economy of the future, the budget includes a new grant program to help schools explore generative artificial intelligence and another program to support school districts, institutions of higher education, and businesses that create new AI-focused career and technical education courses. These grants will support efforts by the Department of Education to include AI literacy into the State standards for information literacy and to issue guidance on best practices for the use of AI in the classroom. 

Menstrual Products

  • Because the Governor signed P.L.2023, c.147 last summer, the budget will also support the Menstrual Products School Reimbursement Program, which will let school districts provide menstrual products free of charge in every public school teaching students in grades six through twelve. 


  • The Murphy Administration has already increased preschool funding by over $427 million since 2018, making early education available for more than 14,600 additional children in 211 school districts as part of the Governor’s commitment to universal pre-K. This year, the Governor’s budget includes $124 million in new funding, which fully funds programs that started in FY2024 and includes an additional $20 million that can be used to expand programs into new districts or support other needs like workforce development. The Department of Education will also continue to work with school districts and child care providers to advance the mission of universal access to high quality pre-K programs. 

Addressing the Educator Pipeline

  • The Governor’s budget also makes targeted investments in programs to encourage students to pursue in-demand, high-skill, and high-wage careers like education. The $10 million added in the FY2024 budget for Student Teacher Stipends continues in FY2025, and the budget includes $1 million for the High Poverty School District Minority Teacher Recruitment Program. 
  • The budget boosts the Teacher Loan Redemption Program by $4 million over last year, and the Behavioral Healthcare Provider Loan Redemption Program by $2 million
  • An additional $5 million in initiatives to boost the nursing workforce are provided as well, including $213,000 to train nurses who commit to serving the Family Connects NJ program; $1.787 million in the Pay It Forward program to provide zero-interest, no-fee loans; and $2 million for the Primary Care Practitioner Loan Redemption Program.

School Construction

  • An additional $350 million will be made available in FY2025 – up from $250 million in FY2024 – for current projects and to help the Schools Development Authority (SDA) move forward on projects identified in its 2019 Statewide Strategic Plan and 2022 update. An additional $50 million of General Fund appropriations will also support capital grants in SDA districts to ensure students have safe and modern learning environments. 

School Meals

  • The budget proposal contains important investments to address food insecurity and school meals. The proposal contains $30 million to expand access to free school meals, to cover children in families making under 225% of the federal poverty level. Additionally, $2.8 million in State funding for the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Program, to provide meals to children who cannot get school meals during the summer is provided. 

Student Mental Health

  • To meet the growing needs for student mental health supports, the budget proposal contains $43 million for the NJ Statewide Student Support Services Network (NJ4S) and $7.3 million for  the Division of Children and Families’ (DCF) Children’s System of Care which provides care management and connections to mental health services for youth under 21 years of age.  

What Comes Next?

School districts have received their state aid numbers from the NJDOE. Please contact the NJPSA Government Relations team if you have any questions or concerns in this area.  

Public hearings have already been announced as follows:

Assembly Budget Committee Hearing – Monday, March 11, 2024,  at 9:30 a.m., Committee Room 11, 4th floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ.

Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee – Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at 10:00 a.m., NJ Institute of Technology, Campus Center Atrium, 150 Bleeker Street, Newark, NJ  07102

Assembly Budget Committee – Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at 9:30 a.m., Committee Room 11, 4th floor, State House Annex, Trenton, NJ

Senate Budget and Appropriations, Remote Hearing (No in-person testimony) – Tuesday, March 26, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.  Three-minute time limit. 

If interested in testifying, visit the NJ Legislature’s website to register, www.njleg.state,  Click on the date of the hearing you are interested in signing up for and there will be posted instructions to register.  If you have any difficulty in registering, please contact Debbie Bradley or Jennie Lamon in the NJPSA Government Relations Department (,

NJPSA will keep you advised of any future developments.  


A Direct Chance to Speak with Your Legislators!!

We encourage all NJPSA members to register today for the NJPSA Legislative Conference on Friday, March 22, at the FEA Conference Center, 12 Centre Drive, Monroe Township, NJ.  This is a great opportunity to share any local concerns directly with key state legislators, so sign up today!