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### NJ Schools Celebrate a Major Victory Thanks to Murphy

Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent proposal for a substantial increase in funding for New Jersey’s public schools marks a significant milestone after more than a decade of efforts. This boost, totaling \(908 million in state aid and reaching a total of \)11.7 billion, signifies the first full funding of our schools—a momentous achievement.

Recognizing the paramount importance of this initiative, Governor Murphy emphasized that investing in New Jersey’s schools is a top priority. The state’s education system, ranked among the nation’s best, owes its success to years of dedicated financial support. This investment not only bolsters our workforce and economy but also addresses issues of economic justice by aiding children in overcoming challenges like poverty and learning setbacks resulting from the pandemic.

This funding increase is the culmination of a prolonged endeavor spearheaded by former Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, in collaboration with the governor to introduce more fairness into the state’s aid distribution system. While acknowledging that the current system may require adjustments, it is crucial to appreciate the significance of this substantial funding enhancement and its positive impact on New Jersey’s schools.

Governor Murphy aptly described this as the most substantial investment in public schools in history, emphasizing the need to nurture every student’s potential regardless of their location. The aim is to revert to the equitable funding formula endorsed by the Supreme Court in 2009, which prioritizes districts’ needs, particularly those with high poverty rates or students requiring specialized services, irrespective of their urban or suburban setting.

Efforts to rectify past underfunding and address disparities caused by political interference have been ongoing for seven years, allowing districts time to adapt. By aligning state aid distribution with constitutional standards, the state can now ensure fair treatment for all students, promoting educational equity.

While periodic reviews of the funding formula are essential for continuous improvement, there is also a pressing need for a comprehensive strategy to combat learning loss with increased state support, as advocated by Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz.

In conclusion, this budget represents a significant victory for schools, reflecting a marked improvement in the equitable allocation of aid compared to previous years. By adhering to the funding formula and rectifying past discrepancies, New Jersey is moving towards a fairer and more transparent educational funding system—a commendable achievement worth celebrating.