Deciding what to do with a cool $1.3 million is a good problem to have.
In Brick, the announcement of extra aid for the school district came Tuesday when Gov. Chris Christie's administration issued revised figures that doubled a $1.3 million increase in state aid announced in February to $2.6 million. The district will receive $34,939,962 in total aid from Trenton this year under the revised formula.
The increase could be applied toward property tax relief for under the district's 2012-13 school budget, which will be proposed next spring, said Busines Administrator James Edwards. It could also be used for any number of purposes, such as capital projects.
Officials in Christie's administration are publicly requesting that districts use the increased funding to defray the cost of property taxes. New Jersey residents currently pay the highest property taxes in the country, on average, with the majority of that taxation going to fund local school districts.
“The additional education aid included in this year’s budget is an opportunity to reduce property tax burdens by lowering local property tax levies for this fiscal year or the next and move closer toward real reform in our schools," said Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts in a statement.
Edwards said at the Brick Board of Education's pre-agenda meeting Wednesday night that his office received a memorandum from state officials with a similar suggestion. But it will be up to the local school board to determine the final destination of the increased funding, Edwards said.
"Though the governor, through the commissioner, is strongly encouraging us to use the money for tax relief in the 2012-13 school year, they really don't have the power to do that," said Edwards.
Edwards said it is "too early to react" and make an instant decision. Board President Sharon Kight has said the matter will be discussed within board committees.