Today, Governor Christie proposed a new plan to drastically change the way that New Jersey funds its public schools. According to the new proposal, each district would receive the same amount of funding per student, $6599 per student per year, regardless of student circumstance, needs or challenges. If this plan were to be implemented, the results could be disastrous.
The New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association vehemently opposes this plan. It is not only the antithesis of fairness, but also may disadvantage our most critical-needs students. While some districts would receive more money under this formula, many districts, particularly urban districts, would see their state aid cut by more than 50 percent — some by much more. The overall result would be significantly less money for educating students. The current funding formula has been upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court, but the Governor has failed to run the formula or properly fund it for the past six years.
Students of different needs require different services. It is not a one-size-fits-all at the same cost scenario. This is why New Jersey has long held the belief that funding should be based on each particular student’s needs, including at-risk children, those who speak English as a second language, and those with disabilities. The students in these districts deserve the opportunity for the thorough and efficient education that the Governor’s plan would deny them.
We urge Governor Christie to work together with the legislature to solve this pressing issue of appropriate school funding. Proposing and pushing an unconstitutional plan that has no chance of advancement is counter-productive and wasteful. We will continue to work with all parties involved to ensure that the needs of ALL New Jersey students are met.