HOWELL – The Howell Township K-8 School District is one of several schools in Monmouth County to receive a reduction in state aid for the 2023-24 school year.
According to the NJ Department of Education, the total state aid for Howell School District is $20,601,309, down $1,740,923 or a 7.79 percent decrease. In 2022-2023, Howell received $22,342,232 in total state aid, which was a $2.8 million reduction from the previous year.
Compared to other school districts in the County, the decrease was not the worst. Freehold Regional, which is home to Howell High School, received $23,786,497 in state aid. That is a $6,763,723 cut from the previous school year; a 22.14 percent decrease.
Other school districts in Monmouth County saw a significant increase in state aid, such as Holmdel Township with a 15.15 percent increase and Matawan-Aberdeen Region School District with a 10.14 percent increase.
Despite its negative impact on many schools, Governor Phil Murphy and Acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan praised the funding figures, unveiling the $20.5 billion budget for education.
According to the Governor’s Office, the proposed budget will provide “historic levels of school aid, with an increase in $1 billion over the prior year for a total of $20.5 billion in school funding.”
This budgeted amount includes pre-K funding, pension and benefits funding for school staff, and an increase in $832 million in total K-12 formula aid, the Governor’s Office stated.
The state determines its distribution of education aid through a funding formula passed in 2018 called S-2. Although the goal of S-2 is to restore funding to districts that are underfunded, the bill has become quite controversial for doing the opposite for local districts.
For the 2023-24 school year, state figures show more than 400 New Jersey school districts will receive increased state funding. However, 157 will see a decrease.
At the time of publication, the Howell Township K-8 School District made no comments on the state aid cuts. Freehold Regional Superintendent Dr. Charles Sampson put out a video message stating that the district was caught off guard with the $6.7 million reduction.
“We are the lowest per pupil spending in Monmouth County… we spend less than every other district per pupil in the County,” Sampson said. “We have now, at this time, been slashed $28 million if something doesn’t change in terms of our state aid… We believe it’s irresponsible post pandemic to cut this aid from the district.”