Senator Mike Doherty
Plan Would Provide Equal Aid to All Students Per the NJ Constitution
Senator Michael Doherty, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, will deliver a presentation at the Milton Friedman Luncheon to be held at Vitale’s restaurant in Teaneck, New Jersey. The luncheon will honor what would have been Professor Friedman’s 99th birthday.
In response to the State Supreme Court’s decree, earlier this year, that the taxpayers of New Jersey spend an additional $500 million on chronically failing inner city schools, Senator Doherty is advancing a school funding plan based on a provision in the state constitution. The “Fair School Funding” plan would guarantee that every child equal school aid, regardless of their place of residence.
“Article VIII, Section IV, paragraph 2 is very clear: state funds for the support of public schools shall be equally distributed for the benefit for all the people of the state. It’s just that simple and that crystal clear in the text of the supreme law of the State of New Jersey. Sadly, the State Supreme Court and the state-funded Education Law Center chose to overlook this paragraph.
“The Nobel prize winning economist Dr. Milton Friedman, a graduate of Rutgers who we are here to honor today, popularized the following quote: ‘Governments never learn. Only people learn.’ That is so true in New Jersey especially in regards to the school situation. For nearly 40 years the Court has mandated billions in addition spending for chronically failing schools without seeing or demanding positive results or outcomes.
“This situation is unfair to the taxpayers funding the Court’s decree and especially unfair and immoral to the students trapped by the court in these schools. How many more generations will the Court sentence to attend to these incurable, failing schools?
“To paraphrase Professor Friedman: because the court refuses to learn, it prevents children from learning.”
The text of Section VIII, Section IV, paragraph 2 of the State Constitution is attached: The fund for the support of free public schools, and all money, stock and other property, which may hereafter be appropriated for that purpose, or received into the treasury under the provisions of any law heretofore passed to augment the said fund, shall be securely invested, and remain a perpetual fund; and the income thereof, except so much as it may be judged expedient to apply to an increase of the capital, shall be annually appropriated to the support of free public schools, and for the equal benefit of all the people of the State; and it shall not be competent, except as hereinafter provided, for the Legislature to borrow, appropriate or use the said fund or any part thereof for any other purpose, under any pretense whatever. The bonds of any school district of this State, issued according to law, shall be proper and secure investments for the said fund and, in addition, said fund, including the income therefrom and any other moneys duly appropriated to the support of free public schools may be used in such manner as the Legislature may provide by law to secure the payment of the principal of or interest on bonds or notes issued for school purposes by counties, municipalities or school districts or for the payment or purchase of any such bonds or notes or any claims for interest thereon.
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