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NEW JERSEY CONTINUES TO LEAD IN SCHOOL FUNDING EQUITY

For the second year in a row, New Jersey has been identified as a national leader in providing equitable school funding for poor and minority students in a report issued by the Washington, DC-based Education Trust. This year’s report – "The Funding Gap 2005" – compares average state and local revenues per student in the highest poverty school districts to per-student revenues in the lowest poverty school districts.

The report shows that New Jersey is one of only a handful of states that has eliminated the funding gap between the highest and lowest poverty school districts and between the highest and lowest minority districts. New Jersey is also singled out, along with Massachusetts and Minnesota, as providing extra dollars to districts serving high concentrations of poor students.

In contrast, states such as Pennsylvania, New York, California and Connecticut all under-fund their high poverty and minority schools, with the gaps in Pennsylvania and New York among the worst in the nation.

According to the report, New Jersey has made real progress since the late 1990’s in equalizing school funding, citing the landmark Abbott v. Burke rulings as the catalyst for this unprecedented effort.

"New Jersey is a leader in providing education funding sufficient to meet the needs of our poorest students," said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director and Abbott counsel. "We should be proud of this accomplishment and redouble our efforts to ensure all students access to equal and adequate school funding."