July 2018: State Aid Allocation

Senator Sweeny and AdministratorsRobbinsville Public Schools has fantastic news!  As you may know, on July 13, 2018 the New Jersey Department of Education informed us that we can expect an increase of $3.5 million dollars in our state aid allocation for the 2018-2019 school year. This is a welcome addition to last year’s increase of $631,042 and will allow us to continue to address years of declining funding which resulted in a cumulative shortfall of approximately $69 million.

On Thursday evening, July 19th, the Robbinsville Board of Education held a special meeting at Pond Road Middle School to determine what portion of this long-anticipated aid should be designated for tax relief. More than 100 township residents were in attendance. Many shared heartfelt opinions and spoke passionately about their aspirations for both the school district and the township. Some common themes among residents addressing the Board included the importance of employing additional school security measures, investing in teachers as a way to hire and retain educators that are passionate about teaching and learning, the need to expand academics and club offerings, and tax relief. All who weighed in shared a common desire to ensure that Robbinsville continues to be a wonderful place to live, work and raise children.

Bill SigningAt the conclusion of public comment a robust discussion among Board members took place. This led to a unanimous vote allocate $613,000.00 for tax relief. After years of tax increases, this vote affirmed that the average Robbinsville resident with a home valued at $375,000 will realize a zero percent increase in their 2019 school tax. 

The Robbinsville Board of Education, led by President Rich Young, prides itself on making thoughtful, deliberate decisions that serve the best interests of our students, our schools and our community. As we move ahead to consider how best to utilize this recent round of state aid, we intend to take a measured and multi-perspective approach to guarantee that we balance the needs of all stakeholders. Options we are considering include additional guidance counselors, program initiatives, a top to bottom security audit and buidling repairs among other things. We promise to be mindful in our deliberations and to remain accountable to our residents as we make important fiscal decisions in the days ahead. 

We want to extend our deep appreciation once again to a remarkable team of citizens.  This small but mighty group of grass-root advocates attended rallies, budget hearings and community events while organizing neighborhood committees and, ultimately, collecting hundreds of signatures on letters to our legislators calling for fair and equitable funding based on the School Funding Reform Act of 2008.  We commend each member of this extraordinary team for their commitment to speaking truth to power and for serving as outstanding role models for our children.

We are also grateful to Mayor Fried and the Robbinsville Town Council for their ongoing support, profound insight and unerring capacity to focus on the big picture. Their keen understanding of the concept that our schools are one of many great reasons that our residents have seen the value of their homes increase is a key component of our unique and exceptional partnership. Thanks to Assemblymen Benson and De Angelo, Senators Greenstein and Sweeney, as well as to Governor Murphy for recognizing the devastating impact the lack of funding has had on our schools and on the taxpaying public.

As we continue to uphold our commitment to offer diverse and rich learning opportunities to every student, we pledge to continue to speak out for our children and the citizens of Robbinsville to ensure that the district receives
equitable funding in the years ahead as a way to guarantee continued success.  

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