The following message was submitted by the three mayors of Hopewell Valley — Kristin McLaughlin, Mayor, Hopewell Township; Joe Lawver, Mayor, Pennington Borough; Paul Anzano, Mayor, Hopewell Borough; and Hopewell Township Committee member Kevin Kuchinski:
Hopewell Valley Officials cheered news late last week that State Aid for the Hopewell Valley Regional School District will increase more than 11% year-over-year, as part of Governor Murphy’s initiative to reduce pressure on property taxes by restoring full funding of State Aid for schools.
Over the past two years, Hopewell Valley Regional Schools have seen a cumulative increase of 21% in state monies for its public schools, resulting in over half a million dollars in incremental funding.
Commenting on the news, Hopewell Township Mayor Kristin McLaughlin said, “This is a big win for everyone in Hopewell Valley and I am glad to see this second year of increased state aid for our public schools. We’ve been working hard to bring more grant monies to Hopewell Valley, and this is another big step in the right direction. This aid is particularly helpful in the face of the double-digit enrollment declines in our District Schools [over the past ten years], and I am hopeful it will help keep spending in check.”
Pennington Borough Mayor Joe Lawver added, “School funding represents the greatest percentage of residents’ property tax bills in Hopewell Valley and higher state aid should help reduce the upward pressure on property taxes.”
Hopewell Borough Mayor Paul Anzano applauded the news and said, “Our public schools are one of the Valley’s strongest assets, and it’s great to see more financial support coming to the District from the State. We have a strong partnership with the District Administration and are focused on opportunities like these to bring more dollars back to Valley residents.”
Over the past 10 years, the three Hopewell Valley municipalities and School District have worked together on a number of joint initiatives:
In 2016, the three Municipalities supported the District’s referendum, enabling much-needed facilities work across all six public schools anda 40% state grant towards the overall cost of these upgrades ($35 Million), which significantly reduced the net cost for residents.
More recently, the School District worked with Hopewell Township to change the timing of its August School payment, which delivered $2 Million in savings and enabled the direct purchase of capital items in 2017, helping reduce Township’s debt levels and the associated interest costs.
Prior to this, Hopewell Township contributed $600,000 from PILOT revenues from the Capital Health expansion to the School District, to move its baseball field which helped enable the building of the new Turf Field at the High School.