Gov. Phil Murphy highlighted school aid and expanded preschool provisions included in his revised budget proposal Aug. 26. The funding proposal included $100 million additional to help schools safely reopen.
The fiscal 2021 state budget proposal would remain steady compared to the fiscal 2020 budget despite historic financial challenges stemming from the ongoing COVD-19 pandemic.
“Supporting our public schools has been one of the bedrock priorities of my Administration, and the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed our commitment to our students, educators, and staff,” said Murphy.
Educational Highlights in the Budget
The revised proposal includes an additional $67.8 million in preschool education aid, increasing the total allocation to $874.2 million. A total of $10 million would go to expanding high-quality preschool programs into new school districts.
Additionally, the plan would ensure school districts are provided with the same levels of funding as was promised in July.
“The pandemic has created an unprecedented challenge for our schools, but I am proud that we can continue to support our districts, ensure the health and safety of students and school staff, and provide a high-quality education for all children,” said the governor.
School Reopening Funding, Other Highlights
Murphy allocated $100 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund funding to ensure school reopen safely across the state. The funding could be used to establish safety protocols or to strengthen them.
In addition to stable state aid and growth in preschool education aid, the governor’s budget plan includes the following increases:
- $400,000 in funding to continue support for STEM Dual Enrollment and Early College High School funding, which led to the launch of P-TECH schools across New Jersey.
- $800,000 for the Computer Science for All initiative to support the goal of increasing student access to cutting-edge computer science instruction.
- $750,000 to continue the Minority Teacher Development Grants designed to diversify the teacher pipeline. (The grants are referred to as the “High Poverty School District Minority Teacher Recruitment Program” in the budget.) Research says that a diverse teaching workforce benefits all children; however, 56% of New Jersey’s students are children of color while only 16% of New Jersey’s educators are teachers of color.