Petition Started To Restore Toms River School Funding

Photo courtesy Toms River Regional School District

TOMS RIVER – A local resident started a Change.org petition to urge state politicians to repeal the law that will reduce state funding by a total of $70 million over the course of several years.

The reduction in funding, promulgated by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy, ties funding to enrollment. Since Toms River’s public school enrollment has been declining, they would be receiving less aid.

According to district records, the state aid for the most recent years have been as follows:

2009-2010: $71,972,480

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2010-2011: $62,185,013

2011-2012: $66,104,704

2012-2013: $67,278,259

2013-2014: $67,712,061

2014-2015: $68,023,721

2015-2016: $68,023,721

2016-2017: $68,342,239

2017-2018: $68,342,239

Unless things change, future funding is expected to be:

2018-19: $65,984,284

2019-20: $64,402,399

2020-21: $62,425,042

2021-22: $59,656,742

2022-23: $56,097,500

2023-24: $51,945,051

2024-25: $47,199,395

According to this schedule, the aid for 2024-25 would be $21 million, or one third, less than it currently is. If all of the cuts were added together, it would be a loss of $70,685,260 over the course of seven school years.

Photo courtesy Toms River Regional School District

The petition demands that the governor and state legislators return the funding and repeal the law that created the issue.

Although the district was able to find ways to fill the hole in the 2018-2019 school year without affecting programs, they warned that future years might have more of an impact.

Bridget Maillard, a resident who created the petition, warned that future cuts could include athletics, clubs, and of course teaching staff and paraprofessionals.

“Without these vital programs available to our students, gaining acceptance to a college, the military, or the transitional career is almost impossible. And without these social interactions, the personal development and the reinforcement of life skills will become neglected for our students, making it extremely challenging for our students to stay involved. With that, the concern over drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and vaping becomes even more paramount, especially with Ocean County’s growing opioid epidemic,” she said.

More than 1,500 people have signed the petition as of press time. To visit the petition, go to change.org/p/new-jersey-governor-save-our-students-help-the-students-of-toms-river-regional-schools-before-it-s-too-late