MANALAPAN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Facing steep funding cuts, one of New Jersey’s largest school districts is joining others in suing the state for its funding formula. There’s concern the cuts will have a big impact on students.
Buses may no longer be available to some 3,000 Freehold Regional School District students next year. Now, students will have to live within two and a half miles of school to get a bus. There will be no more so-called “courtesy” buses for those just inside that limit, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Tuesday.
“As a working mom, I’m a hospice nurse, I work a lot of crazy hours,” parent Jamie Chadziutko said.
“This year’s budget was reduced by almost $4 million. So we basically drained our reserves,” Freehold Regional Superintendent Charles Sampson said.
Freehold Regional is not alone when it comes to drastic cuts in state funding, as 200 other districts have also been effected by the new funding formula. Many have banned together and are suing the state for not releasing the equation used.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney has said the new funding method is about fairness, that many districts are receiving more money now and some districts were over-funded for years. But Sampson said his district did the right thing, saving by consolidating into a regional district with six high schools, and now is in dire straits.
Cuts at Manalapan High School could include not only after-school activities but some unique elective classes.
“If he wasn’t here his portfolio probably wouldn’t be as strong to present to these colleges,” parent Noel Schenkel said.
And pay-to-play sports and activities, leaving the most needy out.
“Are really going to have an impact on the types of supports that we can continue to give those students, day in and day out,” Manalapan High School principal Adam Angelozzi said.
Other options include staff reductions, which means larger classes. They already run between 28-30 students. The final funding numbers from the state for next school year are due in April.
Communities in the Freehold Regional School District can expect to vote soon on whether to fix up the schools. The estimate is $30 million-plus to give century-old buildings new roofs, boilers, and paved areas. Similar referendums were shot down by voters the past two years.