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:
Unless things change, future funding is expected to be:
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.
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