Robbinsville Public Schools has fantastic news. On Friday, July 14, the New Jersey Department of Education informed us that we can expect an increase in state aid in the amount of $631,042 for the 2017-18 school year. This is a welcome start to addressing years of declining funding which left the district with an overarching shortfall of approximately $60 million.

As we continue to uphold our commitment to the Robbinsville Community by offering diverse and rich learning opportunities to every student, these funds will assist us in bridging the $2 million dollar gap we encountered while creating the 2017-18 annual budget. As you may recall, in order to balance this year’s budget district officials were forced to reduce two full-time positions and were unable to hire additional teachers to address steadily increasing enrollment.

We are currently planning to allocate the additional aid by enhancing existing staff compensation, hiring additional teachers to decrease class size and strengthen our educational programs and services, and dedicating funds for maintenance projects.

We want to extend our deep appreciation to a remarkable team of citizens who organized a grassroots effort to galvanize residents in support of Robbinsville’s fight for fair funding. This small but mighty group of advocates attended rallies, spoke at budget hearings and community events, organized neighborhood committees and, ultimately, collected more than 4,500 signatures on letters forwarded to state legislators calling for fair funding based upon the School Funding Reform Act of 2008. We commend each member of this extraordinary team for their commitment to speaking truth to power and for serving as outstanding role models for our children.

It is important to note that we in Robbinsville Public Schools will also continue to speak out for our children and the citizens of Robbinsville to ensure that the district not only receives additional but equitable funding as a way to guarantee continued success.

Kathie Foster is acting superintendent of the Robbinsville school district.