Assemblyman Ciattarelli Proposes School Funding Changes

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Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli sent a letter to Gov. Chris Christie and the top legislative leaders from both parties on March 13, with recommendations for fixing school funding.

Ciattarelli, who is also seeking the Republican party’s nomination for governor, wrote that while he supports all students receiving a “thorough and efficient” education, the method by which the state distributes funds has resulted in certain communities benefiting at the expense of others.

“When a $300,000 home in Delran, Egg Harbor Township, Lakewood, Manville, Freehold Borough, Red Bandk and Woodbridge pays more in property taxes than an $800,000 home in Jersey City … When affluent New Jerseyans living in Hoboken get to send their three- and four-year old children to state-funded Pre-K for free, when a great many blue collar towns throughout the state receive not a penny for Pre-K … The Current distribution of state school aid is unfair to a great many children, taxpayers and educators throughout the state,” the letter reads.

The assemblyman then lays out recommendations for fixing school funding, including:

  • redirecting excess aid from the most overfunded districts to the most underfunded districts over five years;
  • requiring all communities to fund at least 25 percent of their schools’ operations though local property taxes;
  • re-weighting how much it should cost to adequately educate a child;
  • requiring 75 percent of payments-in-lieu-of-taxes revenues to go to school districts; and
  • reforming state-funded pre-K funding.

During his Feb. 28 state budget address, Christie challenged the Legislature to come up with a new school-funding formula within 100 days.

Read Ciattarelli’s letter here.