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STATE FORMALLY NOTIFIES NJ SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF SUBSTANTIAL UNDERFUNDING

April 30, 2014

The NJ Department of Education (DOE) today issued new aid notices to all school districts based on the cost of educating students to meet State academic standards under the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), New Jersey’s groundbreaking, weighted student funding formula. 

The DOE took this unprecedented step in response to a motion filed by Education Law Center on March 27 with the NJ Supreme Court in the landmark Abbott v. Burke education equity litigation. The motion sought to address the DOE’s failure to operate the SFRA formula – the Department did not calculate the level of funding needed by each district to provide a “thorough and efficient” education as guaranteed to all students by the state constitution.

The new aid notices provide each district’s “adequacy budget” under the SFRA formula for the 2014-15 school year using the parameters under the SFRA law, including the weights for at-risk students and English language learners determined by the Legislature in February 2013.

The notices show that Governor Chris Christie dramatically shortchanges districts across the state by not providing the basic funding they must have for all students to achieve rigorous educational standards. The Governor’s underfunding of the SFRA totals approximately $1 billion in K-12 state school aid. 

In sharp contrast, the Governor is proposing to increase school aid by only $20 per student in 2014-15, an almost inconsequential amount for districts. 

“The aid notices issued today confirm what every public school parent and educator knows: Governor Christie has decided not to follow the law and provide our public schools with the essential resources students need to be successful,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director. 

“Our legal action has forced the Governor to disclose the full extent of his failure to properly fund schools across the state,” Mr. Sciarra said. “The Legislature now has the formula calculations required to evaluate the Governor’s inadequate proposal and to formulate a final budget that better responds to the needs of our students and schools.”

 

Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24