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Trenton Sends Us Money! (Sort Of)


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Gov. Chris Christie

The other day, Gov. Chris Christie issued a press release trumpeting the fact that his administration will be increasing state aid to school districts around New Jersey by $850 million under the new budget. As he noted in his prepared statement, this restores all the money that he cut in the previous budget cycle and adds $30 million. Sounds great, right?

Maybe. Sort of. The increase in aid is an increase: $275,171 over what Verona had already been awarded, which was $345,983. So that brings up to $621,154 in state aid.

But here’s where things get tricky. The governor’s press release does not say what we can spend this money on, and Verona’s budget for the 2011-2012 school year has already been created and approved by voters.  You may recall that the federal government sent us a small amount of money a while back ($25,000) that came with numerous strings attached. Verona was able to use it to revamp the school district’s Web site.

And then of course there’s the double punchline: The money we are getting back from Trenton was our money to begin with, and the money that we are getting back is still far less than we are sending. Before Gov. Christie cut to school aid to Verona, we used to get about $1.4 million a year, or seven cents for every income tax dollar we sent to Trenton. At the “restored” aid level, we are getting back about three cents for every tax dollar we send.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


  1. Virginia,the Star Ledger in yesterdays addition reported that Verona only received about 70,000 in school aid for the Year 2010-2010. In either case the additional funding has to help even if it is below the amounts recommended by the school funding formula. As a taxpayer I would encourage the Board of Education to apply the additional funding to property tax relief. It has often been pointed out that the school budget accounts for 50 percent of our tax bill.


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