At 10:30 this morning Gov. Christie will announce that NJ is in a fiscal state of emergency and he is freezing unspent money from this year's budget, including $475 million earmarked as aid to school districts. According to The Record, this freeze will primarily affect districts that have surpluses – i.e., districts that are run most efficiently and would, under normal circumstances, convert the surplus funds into tax relief.
Ex-Gov. Corzine was going to do this anyway, but planned to ask for legislative approval first. Gov. Christie won’t bother.
From the Asbury Park Press, here’s NJSBA’s Frank Belluscio:
You look at the districts who would be paying for that, who would be losing their surplus, are those that have managed to get services or products at lower amounts than anticipated — those that were fiscally prudent. They felt that you might actually wind up being penalized by this. But the state has to look at preserving programs above all else in the current year and avoiding disruption mid-year."