How To Cut $30K From Schools

Through the EPA Clean Diesel Rebate Program, the district is incentivized to scrap old buses and replace them with more efficient models. Last year the district replaced this 1996 school bus with a more fuel-efficient 2018 model, and earned a rebate in the process as part of the program. (Photo courtesy of Toms River Regional Schools)
Photo courtesy of Toms River Regional Schools

  TOMS RIVER – In the search to find ways to cut the budget, the Toms River Board of Education has found $30,662 that it pays an association that it is required to join by law.

  State law requires all boards of education members to also be members of the New Jersey School Boards Association. The estimated cost to the district for membership, fees, and training is $30,662 a year.

  The Board of Education passed a resolution requesting a legislative bill that would make membership optional. The training sessions could be provided at a lower cost, the resolution stated.

  The district is one of many being impacted by S-2, a law that redistributed state aid along the lines of enrollment. Districts like Toms River were overfunded, according to Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and with declining enrollment, they don’t need as much aid. Other districts that were considered underfunded received more aid.

  S-2 will cut approximately $83 million in state aid over the next six years to Toms River, including $2.8 million in the 2019-2020 budget.

  As a result, the district cut 31 employees and 55 coaching stipends for the 2019-2020 school year. Another 46 employees are retiring and not being replaced. The district also cut 10 percent from accounts for supplies and textbooks.

  A petition urging the governor to return the aid currently has more than 16,000 signatures, in a district with 16,000 students. It can be found here: change.org/p/new-jersey-governor-save-our-students-help-the-students-of-toms-river-regional-schools-before-it-s-too-late