HomePalmyra NewsPalmyra school district wins state-aid appeal

Palmyra school district wins state-aid appeal

The Palmyra School District has successfully appealed the calculation of its state equalization aid, described as “fantastic news” shared by Interim Superintendent Mark Pease through a letter to district parents.

“The New Jersey Department of the Treasury has confirmed that the district income used to calculate our state aid was incorrect,” Pease said. “On behalf of the board of education and the (school district) staff, we would like to thank our families for their continued support and advocacy for change.

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“It was our community’s voices that helped make the difference.”

School officials were facing a possible reduction in state aid of $1,070,732 for the 2024-’25 school year, a decrease that had officials scrambling to balance “an already lean budget” and considering cuts in services, programs and personnel.

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for administration and staff, they said, with the elation at passage of an $18.4-million bond referendum on March 12 turning to a struggle to understand why state aid was reduced.

The reduction was reduced because district income dramatically increased from 2020 (used to calculate Equalization Aid for the school year) to 2021 (used to calculate state aid for next school year), according to the state. District income is the aggregate income of residents in the taxing district or districts, based on data from the Division of Taxation in the state Department of the Treasury and included on state income-tax forms.

“Our district income went from $217,109,243 in 2019 to $208,454,233 in 2020 (a 3.99% decrease),” Pease explained. “It then went from $208,454,233 in 2020 to $317,940,995 in 2021 (a 52.52% increase).

“We find this increase unlikely in our community,” he added, “and therefore applied for a Request for Recalculation of Equalization Aid to the New Jersey Department of Education.”

In the upcoming weeks, Pease and district Business Administrator Jared Toscano will work on revising the 2024-’25 budget to reflect the successful aid appeal.

“Our administrative team will continue to evaluate all programs and services to ensure that we maintain and further improve academic performance,” Pease said.

The public budget hearing on the 2024-’25 budget will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, in the Charles Street School gymnasium.

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