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Lawmakers advance school funding plan

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The state Senate's Budget Committee gave its nod of approval to Senate President Stephen Sweeney's school funding plan, putting him into a budget showdown with Gov. Phil Murphy.

On Monday, the committee passed Senate Bill 2, which would shift money from “overfunded” school districts to those that are “underfunded.”

“We want to recognize districts that are losing funding, because it is a hardship.”

Senate President Stephen Sweeney

Those funds would be gradually phased out of districts and plugged into others over a seven-year period.

S2 calls for $64.5 million towards the school budget, on top of the $283 million that Murphy requested in March. The bill calls for a 5 percent reduction in the 2018-2019 school year, 8 percent in the 2019-2020 school year, then by 10, 14, 18, 21 and 24 percent through the 2024-2025 school year.

“We want to recognize districts that are losing funding, because it is a hardship,” said Sweeney, D-3rd District.

Sweeney added that the phase-out can be done by attrition.

Jersey City would be among the hardest hit municipalities under the bill. To counter that, lawmakers are pushing forward a measure that would allow Jersey City, or more broadly, any city with over 200,000 residents, to enact a 1 percent payroll tax.

Over five years, Jersey City is slated to lose upwards of $150 million under S2.

For more 2019 NJ budget:

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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