MONTCLAIR, NJ — The Montclair Board of Education gave a unanimous green light to this year’s proposed school budget at their meeting on Monday, advancing it to the next stage of the approval process.

The good news? The 2024-2025 spending plan would “maintain all current staffing and program levels at Montclair’s 11 public schools” – meaning no job cuts, administrators say.

This declaration is likely a breath of relief for some school community members after dozens of cuts in the district last year (read more below).

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The $147 million operating budget now heads to the county for approval before making its way back to Montclair. The board plans to hold a public hearing for the proposed budget on May 3. It is scheduled to vote on a final budget adoption on May 13.

The board held presentations on the budget in January and earlier in March. View the presentations and see local budget details online here.

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District administrators shared the following details about the expected tax impact for Montclair property owners in their budget presentation on March 18 (article continues below):

In addition to staying within the 2 percent tax levy increase, here are some additional highlights of the proposal, administrators said:

District administrators noted that Montclair is set to get $1.46 million in debt service aid and an increase in state aid of 6.4 percent – for a total of $9.3 million – under Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent school aid proposal.

There are no plans to make withdrawals from capital or maintenance reserve under the budget proposal, administrators said.

“This is a balanced budget that stabilizes the district and creates a positive forward path for years to come,” Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said.

“This budget accomplishes the goals of meeting priorities for improving instruction and also maintains extracurriculars and athletic programs that make our district so special,” Ponds said.

That includes $1 million for “executive coaching,” which will be possible due to the increased state aid, Ponds said.


The Montclair school board’s latest budget proposal comes after a tumultuous budget season in 2023-2024.

In order to close a $5.5 million deficit, last year’s budget included dozens of job cuts for teachers and paraprofessionals, a decision that later sparked a walkout from hundreds of local students. Read More: Montclair Students Protest Teacher Cuts In School Budget (WATCH)

The staffing cuts also inspired a backlash from the local teachers union, the Montclair Education Association. Read More: Dozens Of Staff Cuts Possible In Montclair School Budget

Students and residents also showed up at the municipal budget hearing later that week, asking if there was anything that could be done in the town’s spending plan that could help the school district avoid staff layoffs. Read More: Montclair Council OKs Town Budget At Packed Meeting (See The Tax Impact)

Montclair school administrators continued to get questions from residents in the wake of the budget’s adoption. Read More: School Budget Cuts Leave Montclair Residents With Big Questions

Some Montclair residents have asked if the town could part with any funds from its own coffers to help the school district in the future. One proposal? Diverting some revenue from properties with payments in lieu of tax agreements (PILOTs) – most of which normally goes to the township. Read More: Montclair School Budget Update: Can PILOTs Save The Day?

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