Thursday, June 15, 2017

A significant step on a sustainable path toward equity in school funding for NJ

Yesterday’s announcement by Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Prieto is a significant first step on a sustainable path toward equity in school funding for New Jersey’s students, parents, and taxpayers.  It addresses essential goals including increasing the State’s contribution toward full funding; beginning the phase-out of what was intended as temporary adjustment aid; removing the caps on enrollment growth over which no district has control; and expanding pre-K education for disadvantaged children.  

The decisive element is that this plan delivers the greatest relief to those most in need, while providing increases to all underfunded school districts that educate over 73% of our public school students.  As we know, severely underfunded districts (those receiving less than seventy percent of their state aid) are found in all regions of the state, among all socioeconomic groups, and at all levels of enrollment.

Presently, this is a legislative agreement, and a final appropriations bill will require the governor’s signature to become reality.  Governor Christie challenged the Legislature just over 100 days ago to fix school funding for the 2017-18 school year.  Our legislative leaders have agreed on a strong measure to do so.  Now it is up to him to abide by his pledge and affirm that New Jersey’s taxpayers and schools will move toward the fair treatment he has advocated all along.

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