NJ schools deal with unique problem of more cash

July 19, 2011 4:21:38 AM PDT
Many New Jersey school boards are scrambling to solve a new problem - trying to figure out how to spend bigger allocations of state money than they were expecting to receive.

The state budget adopted late last month called for about $850 million more in state subsidies than the previous year. About half that amount was added at the end of the budget process.

The increase brings some districts back to the funding levels they had before deep cuts in state aid a year ago.

The state expects most middle-class school districts to use the added funds to reduce property taxes. But the most impoverished districts will use the money for educational programs.

On Monday, Gov. Chris Christie said there was nothing he could do about the last-minute decisions.

"The property tax bills have to go out," Christie said. "That's the nature of the problem when you do this that late in the game."

The deadline for districts to figure out their allocations is 4 p.m. Tuesday.