U.F. expecting less aid than state reporting

UPPER FREEHOLD — There is some disagreement about how much state aid the Upper Freehold Regional District will receive for the next school year.

The state projects that the district will receive $3,559,956, an increase of $323,632 over the current year, but district officials say that figure is incorrect.

According to Superintendent Dr. Robert Connelly, Upper Freehold has only received an increase of $142,000 from last year’s state aid.

Connelly is still upbeat about the funding, however. "I am pleased to see state aid is going up," he said.

The discrepancy in the figures may stem from the current transfer of Plumsted students from Upper Freehold to a newly constructed Plumsted High School. The funding figures by the state are based on enrollment projections from year to year. With the loss of the Plumsted students, the enrollment will be drastically lower, causing the original funding number to drop.

No matter what the amount of funding, Connelly has no doubts about what the money will be used for."We are going to use the funding to maintain the programs of this current year into the next. There are annual increases to deal with, and we are looking to add a new language program," said Connelly.

The increase in funding this year will help eliminate the $300,000 loss of stabilization money last year, he said. The district’s finances will be burdened for the next several years due to the loss of tuition money from the exodus of students from Plumsted.

Starting in September of 1999, Plumsted began to send students to their new high school. The loss of students to the Upper Freehold High School also affected the amount of tuition funds for the district.

Connelly understands that the loss of funds is only temporary. "The board has projected that the growth of students from Millstone, Allentown, and Upper Freehold will make up for the loss in tuition. It will take some time to get the enrollment back. Sometimes projections don’t always fall into place, time-wise," said Connelly.

— Keith Hahn