As mentioned, Gov. Christie’s Budget address last week included his intention to tie the loss of state aid to the amount of excess surplus districts have. Now the state has published data listing each of the 591 school districts and the info used to arrive at the $$ the districts will lose. Each line of the spreadsheet includes the following information: District Factor Grouping (DFG), Excess Surplus, Capital and Maintenance Emergency Funds, April and June Projected Fund balances, Total Surplus, Total State Aid, Excess Surplus Withholding, Total Withholding, and Remaining Payments Withheld.
Thank you to NJ Left Behind for converting the info into a spreadsheet, which you can access by clicking here.
The top 10 districts in terms of excess surplus are: Union City ($26,313,800); Perth Amboy ($15,155,778); Newark City ($10,373,157); Vineland ($13,143,132); Paterson ($10,308,731); Union Township ($9,122554); East Orange ($7,969,516); Camden City ($5,050,022); Pennsauken ($5,648,866); Atlantic City ($6,371,707).
Ridgewood's excess surplus is $1,361,181.
The amount of aid the state will withhold from Ridgewood, forcing us to use our surplus (instead of reinvesting it in next year's budget), is $808,066. This amount will need to be cut from next year (on top of cuts we already anticipate).
The NJ Left Behind blog also posted a few really good questions about these Top 10 Districts in the “Excess Surplus Withholding" category:
Question: Within these districts reside extremely needy kids. Why is this money in surplus – intended to be rolled over to next year’s budget – rather than used for additional services right now?
Question: Are we giving these districts more money than can realistically/productively be used for supplementary services?
Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org