Acting Governor Kim Guadagno named seven people to the New Jersey Education Funding Task Force April 4. The task force formed by the Governor earlier this year in conjunction with the release of state aid numbers are tasked with evaluating whether the use of a free or reduced price school lunch metric is appropriate for determining at risk youth under the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA). NJPSA raised questions about the change when testifying on the budget before the Assembly Budget and Senate Budget & Appropriations Committees. The task force will be chaired by Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks.
The body will include:
- Common Sense Institute of New Jersey President and former Randolph Board of Education President Jerry W. Cantrell;
- Former Paterson Public Schools Director of Early Childhood Education Anna Lugo DeMolli;
- Fort Lee Public Schools Interim Superintendent Steven Engravalle;
- Stern & Kilcullen Partner John P. Inglesino;
- St. Benedict’s Prep Headmaster and Essex County Vocational and Technical Schools Board President Rev. Edwin D. Leahy; and
- Former Absecon City Councilmember Charles Urban.
“The Education Funding Task Force will evaluate the use of the Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program as a measure for ‘at-risk’ students” Guadagno said “explore the viability of alternative measures and generally provide recommendations to address aspects of the school funding formula that are susceptible to fraud and abuse.
“By finally taking a look at these critical issues we will ensure that education dollars are distributed in a fairer and more equitable manner for every child in New Jersey.”
SFRA uses the measure as a way of identifying a child as “at-risk” under the formula. Questions were raised by several legislators last year about potential abuses in the program.