NJ Lawmakers Hold Hearing On Education Funding

Apr 24, 2017

Parents and school officials attend Assembly Committee hearing.

Parents and officials from some New Jersey school districts that get significantly less state aid than required by the school funding formula packed an Assembly committee hearing.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli questioned Acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington about the Christie administration’s budget plan to hold school funding at current levels.

“Is the Department’s position that the status quo and the effect of the status quo is having is acceptable?

Harrington says the state does not have the money to fully fund the formula.

“The Department’s position is that we are making difficult decisions with limited dollars and trying to do the best we can to spread that across.”  

Jared Rumage is the superintendent of Red Bank public schools. He says the district is getting only about a third of the state aid the school funding formula calls for and is hoping an agreement is reached soon on a plan to provide some relief.

“We can’t wait until the ’18-’19 school year. We are hurting now. We are increasing enrollment on a daily basis. We just cannot provide the appropriate class sizes for our students and as a result our students are not receiving the education that they deserve.”

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon says the process of changing the school funding formula needs to be started in this year’s budget.  Legislative leaders and Governor Christie have not agreed on a plan to alter the formula.