Consistent with their long-standing commitment to reforming the State’s school aid formula, Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove voted against a measure aimed at protecting the status quo of underfunding the majority of suburban and rural school districts.
Recently, both houses of the Legislature voted on ACR-131/SCR-90, a resolution that objected to specific recommendations included in the Educational Adequacy Report (EAR), which must be issued by the Governor in consultation with the New Jersey Department of Education every three years. The Report proposed modifying the provisions of the State’s school funding formula that currently ensures the lion’s share of aid is sent to 31 special needs districts, commonly known as Abbotts.
The 9th District delegation issued the following statement:
“Taxpayers living in non-Abbott districts, such as our constituency which includes a significant number of seniors, have little hope of receiving meaningful property tax relief unless the State’s school aid formula is reformed.
“The Education Adequacy Report attempted to reform the formula in a modest way that could have driven more money to over-taxed school districts. Yet, members of the Legislature benefitting from the current formula were only too eager to reject this statutorily required report without even a hearing to discuss its merits.
“The inherent disparity of aid provided under the state’s school aid formula is perhaps the biggest contributing factor in high property taxes. Entrenched special interests in Trenton deliberately calibrated the formula to ensure the lion’s share of aid goes to only 31 Abbott school districts, mostly located in urban areas.
“Under the current formula, Abbott districts get 56 percent of school aid even though they only account for 20 percent of the state’s student enrollment. That’s an absolutely outrageous disparity when considering that nearly $8 billion in direct state school aid is distributed.
“While school districts and local governments in our area are forced to operate with limited resources, Abbott districts and their taxpayers are awash in State aid. Special interests in Trenton will move quickly to stop any challenge to the status quo on school aid. Otherwise, their local districts would be compelled to control spending just as everyone else has had to do.”