LACEY – School district officials are looking at the 2018-9 budget, while still negotiating the effects of a state aid cut for this year’s budget.
School business administrator Patrick DeGeorge gave a presentation during the most recent Board of Education meeting to bring the public and the board members up to date on the state of the budget.
“At any one time, we are working in three budget years,” he said. The previous year is being audited, and the next year is being planned.
The rising cost of health care is one of the larger issues, and it is usually a perennial one, he said.
A change in the state funding plan reallocated approximately $46 million of state aid throughout New Jersey this year. Generally, the money left districts with decreasing enrollment and moved toward districts with increasing enrollment.
Lacey’s state aid dropped by $71,943, from $21,658,013 in aid to $21,586,070. They made up for the loss by taking money out of surplus. Every district has some surplus that rolls over from previous years to use for emergencies. Lacey had $1,046,442 at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
Toms River and Brick were hit much harder, facing a loss of $3.3 million and $2.1 million, respectively. They held protests and fought hard, eventually winning and having that money reinstated.
Lacey wasn’t as fortunate. Their complaints to Trenton did not get the same kind of traction, DeGeorge said. The aid is still down by $71,943.
Hopefully, he said, the aid would be restored in next year’s budget, and that this cut doesn’t become their new aid figure.