On Tuesday morning, just after midnight on July 4, I witnessed both the Assembly and Senate pass the FY 2018 State Budget. The Governor then signed it into law, ending a three-day government shutdown. Overall, the final $34.7 billion budget included no new tax increases and a number of key provisions for the business community. The FY 2018 Budget marks the beginning of the state’s new fiscal year.
In regard to school funding reform changes, the plan includes $100 million in new school aid for underfunded districts, plus $31 million in Adjustment Aid reallocated from overfunded districts. Additionally, the plan includes $25 million to expand pre-school education and another $25 million for Extraordinary Special Education Aid. The agreement also limits reductions in funding for adjustment aid to no more than 2 percent of state aid.
The FY 2018 budget provides $2.3 billion in higher education funding, including $425.9 million in funding for Tuition Aid Grants (TAG).
This budget also marked the fourth year that funding has been included for a County Vocational School District Partnership Grant Program. NJBIA first advocated for this grant program in FY 2015 because it encourages vocational schools to partner with local high schools and county colleges to create career programs in existing facilities. The program will receive $3 million in FY 2018.
Ultimately, this will expand access to quality career and technical education programs, give more students the skills needed to launch a successful career, and ensure that employers will have a skilled and trained pipeline of employees.