TOMS RIVER – The school district is organizing a trip to Trenton, rallying the community to show policy makers how much is at stake with recent cuts to school aid.
Buses will depart from the RWJBarnabas Health Arena on the campus of Toms River High School North, 1245 Old Freehold Road, on March 5 at noon. The destination is the statehouse. People are encouraged to wear white and bring signs. To sign up, visit TinyURL.com/3-5-19-March
Every district receives aid from the state, but a new funding formula is tying aid to enrollment. Since enrollment went down, aid went down. It is estimated that the district will lose $70,685,260 over the course of seven school years.
The district is in the midst of a class action lawsuit with other districts that lost aid, alleging that the funding formula being used has many mistakes in it, such as believing Toms River residents have more wealth than they really do, and that other districts (which received more aid) are more poor than they really are.
In a plea to get residents to join the rally, district officials said that the cut in funding could be catastrophic, including the loss of 400 jobs, busing, full day kindergarten, and all non-mandated programs. Athletics might be cut or require a cost. Class sizes would increase. The district claims these cuts would make the schools “inoperable.”
Further, the district states that they are being punished for doing a good job, reporting that they have the second lowest cost-per-pupil rate in the state, and eighth lowest in administrative costs. The state has figures to show how much a district should be spending, and Toms River is below that by $30 million.
“Our students and teachers will not be the collateral damage of a critically flawed system,” read a letter to parents.