Hopatcong Schools State Aid Bump Still 'Not Enough'
District sees 2.2-percent increase, still reeling from previous year's large loss.
The Hopatcong School District received an increase in state aid this year, but not nearly enough to make up for the devastating blow it was dealt in funding for the 2012-13 school year.
New Jersey distributed its largest funding of state aid to public schools in history Thursday, giving Hopatcong $11,349,365, a 2.2-percent increase ($247,304) over the previous year.
But that won’t simply make up for the 6.4-percent loss the year prior.
“We are still experiencing the effects of decreased overall funding and were planning for a shortfall in excess of $700,000 overall,” Superintendent Charles Maranzano said in an email to Patch. “The increase of state aid will not allow us to add any additional programs as we are still attempting to make up a loss of $500,000 due to increased spending overall.”
Despite the major shortfall in last year’s budget, no staff was cut in the spending plan.
The 2013-14 aid package is the largest amount ever released by the state, according to the New Jersey Department of Education, with nearly $9 billion going to public schools, an increase of $97.3 million from the previous year.
“Throughout my time in office I have continuously argued that in order to grow New Jersey’s economy we must invest in education, and my proposed budget is a reflection of my commitment to our educational system and communities across the state,” said Governor Chris Christie in a statement. “However, even as we continue to fund education at the highest levels in state history, we must remain willing to reflect on how we are spending our money and work towards solutions that make every dollar we invest count.”
It is also the third consecutive year overall aid has increased, the DOE said.
Tentative budgets are due to county superintendent offices by March 8 for districts that moved their elections to November.