On March 13, Governor Phil Murphy delivered his first Budget Address to a Joint Session of the State Legislature setting a new direction and focus for a “stronger and fairer” New Jersey.
The NJ Principals and Supervisors Association is pleased to see the Governor’s strong commitment to the value of investing in public education as a core component of New Jersey’s economic recovery. We share the goals of both Governor Murphy and our legislative leaders to move steadily toward full funding of our public schools according to the student-centered provisions of the constitutionally upheld School Funding Reform Act (SFRA).
Specifically, the Governor’s FY 2019 Budget proposal includes a $341 million investment in public school funding above current levels, with a $283 million increase in formula aid holding all schools at least equal to current funding levels. The Budget Proposal also advances a $57 million expansion of pre-K opportunities in our state, a $2 million grant initiative to advance student career opportunities in computer science and start-up funding for STEM-focused high schools promoting career options and advanced degrees at the high school level with loan forgiveness for New Jersey STEM graduates at the higher education level. In our view, these proposals will move all schools forward and provide strong opportunities for students at every stage of their schooling.
Budgets do express the priorities of our government and NJPSA is heartened by the Governor’s proposals that support our members as public employees. We strongly support the continued progress in funding our state pension systems according to the payment schedule established by legislative leaders in recent years. Governor Murphy proposes allocating $3.2 billion towards pensions in FY 2019, a 28% increase over last year’s contribution level. We applaud this moral and fiscal commitment to our retirees and active members. Moving forward, NJPSA pledges to work with the Governor and the Legislature to identify additional ways we can achieve efficiencies and cost savings within our pension and health benefits system to preserve our members’ pensions, benefits and security over the long-term.
As school districts await the release of their state aid figures this week, NJPSA will review the Budget Proposal in more detail. Over the next several months, NJPSA will work closely with lawmakers through the budget process to ensure that our schools are properly funded and our students receive the quality education they deserve for their futures.
Building a Stronger and Fairer New Jersey – Budget in Brief