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FRHSD Receives the Largest Increase of State Aid in NJ

The Freehold Regional High School District has received an increase of $3.2 million in state aid.

The has greatly benefited from Gov. Chris Christie's recent distribution of state funding for the 2012-2013 school year, state's largest expenditure for school aid in history.

According to a press release issued by the New Jersey Assembly Republicans, the district received the largest increase in funding in the state because Christie was able to apply a more accurate measure of student enrollment to state funding.

“Students and property taxpayers in the Freehold Regional School District finally have some relief from a formula that did not properly account for schools with extraordinary enrollment increases,” Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande said last week. “Governor Christie has added a dose of objectivity and fairness to the way we allocate the state’s education dollars so that the money truly does follow the child.”

Superintendent Charles Sampson explained that the additional funding the district received was due to a combination of changes made to state aid allocation, and not just a result of district enrollment increases, as the release indicated. Enrollment within the district has been relatively stable the past four or five years, according to the superintendent.

"The FRHSD received additional aid because we have high daily attendance, are currently $4.5 million dollars UNDER adequacy and have received little or no adjustment aid in the past," Sampson said.

Adequacy spending is the amount of money the state indicates the district should be spending, Sampson explained. With the current tentative budget, which was adopted last night, beneath $4.5 million in adequacy spending the district is garnering the benefits; the district has been below adequacy spending for the past several years, Sampson said.

According to the Assembly Republicans, enrollment in the district has increased by 25 percent in the past decade. Usually the state measured enrollment on Oct. 15 of every year, but this year the state changed their method of evaluation and decided to look at the schools' average daily attendance.  The district's solid attendance record was, therefore, another factor in the funding formula which helped the district.

While the tentative budget was adopted so that it could be forwarded to the county superintendent for technical review, the budget will be reworked to include the additional state funding.

"The district will balance the instructional objectives for all students with our capital needs in order to bring a responsible budget to the community that is both under cap and under the state’s determination of adequacy. The increase in state aid has made this possible," Sampson said.

In response to bringing back district programs that have been previously cut due to budgetary restrictions, the superintendent said that the worthiness of every program and services is considered during each budgetary process and measured in relation to any prospective programs.

"We will be embarking on the first year of an ambitious Strategic Plan that will seek to prioritize the competing interests of a number of worthy programs," Sampson said. "We also have an obligation to maintain our infrastructure and must be sure to address long term capital needs. We realize that we cannot fund all worthwhile programs, our budget process is rigorous and detailed and we will continue to deploy our resources in a way that yields the highest return on the community’s investment."

The budget hearing will take place at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, March 26.

milton McC February 28, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Casagrab again shows she doesn't really understand the facts and just looks for her headlines. This additional money is good news and will hopefully be spent on capital projects that are needed but had to be deferred. Any other use of that money would be irresponsible because it may not be there next year due to the circus known as Trenton. I don't know which side of the aisle are bigger jackasses.
cynicinmarlboro February 28, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Knowing how the district has tried to use funds before, I fear that this money will be frittered away as well. Look for increases in administration salaries under the guise that they have not had any in some time (forgetting that they all seem to make decent salaries as it is). They also have the teacher contract negotiations so look for increases there as well. Capital improvements are sorely needed to improve the buildings, which have been neglected the past few years. What bothers me most about this is the children will not truly benefit from the additional funds, except maybe for safer buildings if and when they are all fixed. But let's see how the budget process (over which we have now lost the vote since its being moved) progresses. Perhaps they will surprise us yet.
Jerry February 28, 2012 at 05:16 PM
"We will be embarking on the first year of an ambitious Strategic Plan that will seek to prioritize the competing interests of a number of worthy programs," Sampson said. Translation: "We will get together in a back room to work out the details of the plan to hide where the money really goes. Now that we've succesfully stolen the budget vote away from the taxpayers, we can spend as we want wiothout repercussion."
Momof4 February 29, 2012 at 02:11 PM
YAY, now Wasser Jr. and the board has the money to pay for the lawsuit for falsely trying to fire the best Principal Manalapan HS has ever had! Maybe now our taxes won't go up. And hopefully when the elections come around in November all the voters in all the towns will come out and vote OUT the current board that is trying to railroad Mr. Simon. With new board memebers we can then fire Wasser Jr. and hire a competent superintendent who will actually put the needs of our children first instead of their politcal bullcrap!
s March 15, 2012 at 01:17 PM
FRHSD cut accident insurance for their athletes and students who participate in extracurricular activities. These students have also been excluded from a voluntary policy which parents can purchase. Other NJ schools continue to protect their students but we are moving farther and farther away from "putting students first."

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