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school aid
Lucia Grzeskiewicz/PIXABAY
Montclair will receive an increase in school state aid for 2020-2021, though not as much as originally expected in March.

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

Montclair School District will receive less in state aid for 2020-2021 than what was expected before the pandemic hit in March. 

However, Montclair’s amount of $7,697,276 is an increase from the $7,605,632 received last year. 

Despite the “historic financial challenges New Jersey is facing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Phil Murphy said that the state school funding “would remain steady.” 

The announcement of school funding for districts throughout New Jersey was made Wednesday, Aug. 26.

The amount represents a decrease of $193,767 from the original amount of $7,894,013 announced after the governor’s budget address in March.

Montclair school officials learned of the aid alteration and made adjustments to the budgeted fund balance in August, Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said. 

In May, state officials announced that $335 million in school aid would have to be cut from what Murphy originally proposed in March, due to economic difficulties resulting from COVID-19. 

School districts throughout the state will receive an additional $68 million for Pre-K programs. Of this, $10 million will be used to establish Pre-K programs in districts that do not presently have them. 

Another $100 million in COVID-19 aid will be allocated to districts to help defray the costs of reopening. This will cover expenses such as protective barriers, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and remote learning expenses. However, DOE spokesman Mike Yaple said the amount of COVID-19 funding that each district will receive has not yet been determined. 

Montclair is not on the list of districts that will receive state Pre-K aid for the 2020-2021 school year, and district officials confirmed that Montclair does not receive state aid for Pre-K. 

The revised budget proposal for the 2020-2021 school year includes an additional $67.8 million in preschool education aid, for a total preschool allocation of $874.2 million. Of the new funding, $10 million will help districts establish new Pre-K programs, and the remainder will go to help expand existing programs.