The Education Foundation of Morris Plains was founded in April 2010 (and incorporated in October 2010) as a joint effort between a group of concerned members of the community in conjunction with the Morris Plains School District and Morris Plains Board of Education. The Education Foundation of Morris Plains is comprised of a group of professionals, educators and parents, dedicated to the mission of ensuring the highest level of educational innovation for our students, faculty and staff by generating and distributing financial and other resources for the Morris Plains School District. The Education Foundation of Morris Plains was founded on a simple concept; the need to find external funding sources using private and corporate resources which will allow the district to maintain and grow its educationally and technologically based opportunities for the children of Morris Plains.
The Morris Plains School District is a K-8 School District which ranks in the Top 10% of New Jersey Schools. The district supports 670 students and has an exceptionally strong community that supports the school and its students. The district has a highly dedicated teaching and administrative staff with the common goal of helping children to achieve their highest potential through the use of technology and innovation, which is continually undergoing rapid change in the delivery of educational services to our children.
However, over the past several years, the Morris Plains School district has endured significant budget cuts. For example, in 2010 the reduction of aid to the school district was $720,000 leaving the district and its supporters no choice but to reach to external funding sources for critical and necessary projects. The Morris Plains School district is now 97% supported by local property taxes (1.2% comes from the state and 1.6% from the federal government). The income tax money that Morris Plains citizens send to the state is primarily re-directed elsewhere in the state. State and Federal governments continue to impose unfunded mandates on school districts which have set a high bar for special education services, but do little to help control those costs. For example, private special education schools to which the district pays tuition are allowed to raise their tuitions up to 12% per year, even though public school tax increases are capped at 2%. For the 2010-11 school year, the district received just $177,371 in state aid against $3,597,429 in special education costs (including transportation). Our total operating budget is $13.5 million. Meanwhile, half of the approximately $10.4 billion allocated by the state for education during the 2010-11 school year went to just 31 districts, out of 592 districts.
This situation has left the Morris Plains School District with severe limitations on funding necessary for educational projects and technological initiatives that students currently enjoy in other, better resourced districts. The Education Foundation is seeking to equalize the funding differences that have been created by reaching out to the regional community for alternative means of funding in order for the Morris Plains School district to remain competitive. Again, despite the financial pressure on the district, Morris Plains School District continues to rank in the top 10% of districts in New Jersey. This speaks to the high degree of commitment and dedication of staff, parents and residents, which have an exceptional partnership in the community.