The Westwood Regional Board of Education approved a preliminary budget of $52,191,950 at a meeting Thursday night, the same day the state Department of Education announced that the district will receive almost $300,000 more in aid for the 2012-13 school year than this year.
Governor Chris Christie said that he was giving the highest increases for education aid in state history. Aid to Westwood Regional Schools next year will be up about 21 percent from this year. The total $1,652,524 the district will receive next year still falls short of the approximately $2,700,000 in state aid it received for the 2009-10 school year.
"To make that claim that the district's finances are in significantly better shape than they've ever been because of [Christie's] administration would be a little disingenuous," Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller said.
With the increase in aid, the district will be able to restore some faculty positions that were eliminated due to the cuts. The proposed budget is an approximate 1.4 percent increase from this year, which may be the smallest in district history, Zoeller said.
With the preliminary budget approved, the county will make edits and return it to the board. There will be a budget presentation at the March 22 board meeting, followed by a final board vote.