KEANSBURG, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A Monmouth County parent is teaching her kids that they have a voice and should use it, especially when it comes to funding their education.
The working class town of Keansburg could lose more than $6 million in state education funding, forcing the school district to cut after-school programs, summer school, some sports programs, teachers and coaches, reports CBS2’s Meg Baker.
The Chalmers family started a petition that now has over 900 signatures fighting against New Jersey’s new school funding formula set to cut a quarter of the schools budget.
“It’s important to me because my coaches aren’t just coaches, they are almost like family to me,” said Louis Chalmer, a 15-year-old sophomore. “It’s big to me to help them because they have helped me.”
Keansburg joins 57 other school districts that formally oppose the new formula.
Louis’ mother has also become active in fighting the proposed cuts.
“I was trying to get elected officials to pay attention to the fact this is very much for my community a human issue, a community issue,” said Ellen Chalmers.
“Keansburg is going to be devastated by this,” said Superintendent of Schools John Niesz. “We have special ed population of 30 percent, and our free and reduced low income is about 80 percent student population.”
The school funding formula assumes the district only has 15 percent special education students. Local leaders say the solution to help underfunded districts should not cause others to go into crisis.
“A place like Keansburg, who was substantially damaged by Super Storm Sandy, who lost residents, who lost ratables, now is not time to hit with an almost $6 million decrease in funding,” said New Jersey assembly member Serena DiMaso.
State aid is finalized in March followed by budget approvals in April. The superintendent says he is preparing for the worst, but hoping for a miracle.