TRENTON – New Jersey schools have incurred extraordinary expenses during the pandemic, following a revamping of the state school funding formula that reduced aid for special education to some districts. Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are pleased to report that the FY2022 State Budget will include $400 million for Extraordinary Special Education funding. With the additional $100 million from the Legislature, the legislators of District 11 helped secure an additional $3 million to bring the total amount of funds for the Monmouth County district to $13 million overall.
Senator Gopal said, “I am very happy to have fought to secure additional funds for the extraordinary special education fund. It’s unfair for local taxpayers – especially those without school-aged children of their own – to shoulder the mounting costs for extraordinary special education programs. The State needs to step in to take that burden for them, and these extra funds allotted within our district will help do just that.”
The “Extraordinary Costs” provision in New Jersey’s funding law provides supplemental state aid to school districts for each student who needs intensive services. The award is based upon an individual student’s primary placement in one of three categories:
1. Student educated in a public school program with non-disabled peers: For those direct instructional and support services costs in excess of $40,000, a district shall receive aid equal to 90 percent of the amount of that excess.
2. Student educated in a public school with only disabled peers: For those direct instructional and support services costs in excess of $40,000, a district shall receive aid equal to 75 percent of the amount of that excess.
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3. Student educated in a private school: For tuition costs in excess of $55,000, a district shall receive aid equal to 75 percent of the amount of that excess.
“It is our intention to make sure that these districts with excellent special education programs and high populations of students with extraordinary special education needs aren’t paying more than their fair share to educate the students in their classrooms,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling. “While schools have incurred extraordinary expenses during the pandemic, securing more funds for these schools helps these districts through a hard year of struggle and ensure fairness in the budget.”
The money can be used for services in any special education setting: an inclusive general education classroom, a self-contained classroom in the district, or an out-of-district program, such as a private school. Funding goes directly to the sending school district and follows the child.
“When we deprive students with special needs of the funding they need to succeed, children, families, and educators are all forced to struggle and compete for funding and resources,” said Assemblywoman Downey, Chair of Assembly Human Services Committee. “By increasing State funding for extraordinary special education, we can end this pointless race and give each classroom the funds that it deserves.”
Special Education Funding Received
Below is a breakdown of the funds each town in district was awarded:
|District 11||Total Extraordinary Aid|
|Red Bank Regional||$154,125|
|West Long Branch||$75,140|
Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling & Joann Downey represent New Jersey’s 11th Legislative District in the State Senate and Assembly, where they work to make the Garden State more affordable for its hard-working residents.