Municipal aid to remain flat, aid to schools increasing

Gov. Christie has delivered the state’s budget address, offering a glimmer of hope for municipalities and school districts dealing with tight budgets and grim financial situations in the 2012 fiscal year.

According to Christie, state aid to municipalities will see no cuts this year, remaining flat from last year’s amounts.

Addressing mayors, Christie said the steady amount of aid combined with a two percent levy cap on property taxes means “there is no excuse for this relief to be eaten up with higher local taxes.”

As for schools, they’ll see an increase in funding over last year.

In his address Christie stated that school aid would increase by $250 million for next year. Last year Christie drastically cut school aid for most districts in the state.

“Today, because of the hard and necessary choices we have made, I am pleased to report we are able to provide an increase of $250 million in school aid,” he said. “This will allow every district in the state to receive increased aid.”

He went on and said that it should be the state’s goal to reform education in New Jersey.

“We need to reward excellent teachers, put an end to automatic tenure, and give parents trapped in failing schools a choice for a better future for their children. Once and for all, we must reward excellence and there must be consequences for failure. This is the way it is all across America — we must finally bring it to all of New Jersey’s classroom,” he said.

Christie also announced good news for state higher education institutions. After several years of cuts to operating support to colleges and universities, Christie said there will be no further reductions in this year’s budget. He proposed $20 million more for student aid programs as well.