Story: Ben Wolverton
CHESTERFIELD, NJ -
Our local school remains the lowest funded district in the Garden State, just 11% of where the government says it should be, based on household income and student enrollment. Now, the administration says the school is half a million dollars short for next year’s budget.
Chesterfield Elementary will receive $419,893 dollars for the next school year. That’s around $524 per student based on an estimated 800 students enrolled. The school district has felt the impact of the low funding in recent years.
"We don't have enough money for textbooks. We're using box tops to buy the bare minimum technology needed to administer PARCC," Chesterfield Twp Committeewoman Andrea Katz said in a budget hearing earlier this year.
Last summer, Senate President Steve Sweeney met with school officials in Chesterfield’s library to hear their concerns about the lack of money.
"The reality is," Sweeney said, "how much harder is it for a teacher to achieve a high level of teaching, when you have 25 kids to 35 kids in a classroom?"
Chesterfield Superintendent Scott Heino sent a letter to the State Legislation in March of 2016, writing “Over the last 10 years, Chesterfield... has grown from a small school of just over 250 students to our current population of just under 800 students. Even though Chesterfield’s population has tripled in that time, our State aid has not... [W]e find ourselves in the same situation as previous years, having to make deep budget cuts just to ensure we have the proper staff to support our students due to the lack of State aid.” He ended the letter with “[w]e can’t continue to operate with our growth on flat funding.”
More recently, Chesterfield announced a $500,000 deficit for next year’s budget. A half a million dollars that will need to be cut for the 2017-2018 school year, and the administration wants parent’s help deciding what should be cut. 2 representatives from the Chesterfield School Board will be attending a special meeting on Monday, March 13th at 6:30pm in the Chesterfield library to hear parent’s on the budget.
See the event on Chesterfield's website HERE.
NOTE: Should the meeting be cancelled due to the upcoming storm, we will post it on our site.
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