Toms River Regional Schools’ fight to restore the millions in state funding lost as a result of Bill S2, and its effort to revise the funding formula on which the bill is based, began in 2017. That fight continues today.
At the end of February, Governor Phil Murphy released his annual proposed budget, which revealed that TRRS is set to lose an additional $8.1 million in 2021-2022. This is, as Superintendent Thomas Gialanella said, “alarming,” and while the district is working with the state to minimize the effects of these projected losses, it nevertheless remains extremely important that this community continue to make its voice heard regarding this injustice.
Our district, in collaboration with our SOS cohort of more than 100 other negatively-affected districts, have targeted Wednesday, March 24, 2021 as a day to blitz the Governor's Office, the Senate President's Office, the Assembly Speaker's Office, and local legislators with phone calls and emails expressing just how devastating these cuts are to our students and communities.
The most important thing you can do is as follows:
Please support this effort by taking just five minutes of your day and click here and complete the form to send a pre-populated email with your information to the governor and all local legislators.
Our state’s exceptional public schools, literally first in the nation, are a point of pride and build strong communities. As a state, we have made the choice to invest in our children, in our future and theirs. I support my community and our public schools and expect – demand - the same support from our elected officials.
"The future of every New Jersey child cannot and should not wait. We look forward to your immediate action."
Some have speculated that pandemic support funding will serve to offset the adverse effects of S2 for affected districts. CARES Act funding is specifically allotted for pandemic relief (PPE, bridging the digital divide, etc.), and even if such funding provided any broader fiscal relief, that will only be exacerbated next year and thereafter. As Toms River School Board President Joseph Nardini has stated, “Incurring these cuts year after year is simply unsustainable.”
Therefore, we are mobilizing our community to contact state officials (see resources posted below) throughout the day March 24.
We’re even providing talking points, which are:
- During the pandemic when schools are struggling to fully reopen, there should be no funding cuts. Every penny will be needed to reopen schools and provide SEL to our students.
- The additional aid for the pandemic is appreciated, but is only a band aid (masking the impact of S2 reduction for the year), not a solution to the funding dilemma.
- The timeline for S2 cuts must be extended in order for districts to manage funding reductions without decimating educational programming and staffing and to review a flawed and antiquated funding formula.
- The funding formula is over a decade old, antiquated, flawed in determining district funding, and does not take into account student learning needs and conditions in 2021.
The funding formula must be reviewed, overhauled, and updated.
- Transitional aid for districts who apply must be provided in an expedited fashion (July), so that districts can utilize the funding to maintain staffing and programming. Providing funding after the school year begins is too late.
This ongoing issue remains in the news, and will garner even more attention come March 24. Please, take a few minutes out of your day, in the interest of our children, this district, and the entire Toms River community, to make your voice heard. Thank you!