New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Mike Doherty
Senator Tom Kean

Kean: Doherty to Sponsor “Fairness Formula” School Funding Reform Legislation

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Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean said that Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) will be the prime sponsor of a school funding reform proposal announced by Governor Chris Christie to give all children an equitable share of state school aid and provide real property tax relief to the overwhelming majority of taxpayers.

Sen. Mike Doherty will be the prime sponsor of a school funding reform proposal announced by Gov. Chris Christie to give all children an equitable share of state school aid. (©iStock)

“Senator Doherty has led a years-long effort in the Legislature to adopt a fairer school funding formula that treats all students equally and taxpayers fairly,” said Kean. “Considering the great similarities between his ‘Fair School Funding’ plan and the Governor’s proposed ‘Fairness Formula,’ there couldn’t be a better person than Senator Doherty to take the lead on this new legislation.”

Kean will join Doherty as a co-prime sponsor.

Doherty first introduced his “Fair School Funding” plan, currently S-569, in 2011. That legislation would divide the approximately $14 billion of income tax revenues collected by the state into an equal amount of school aid for each student.

Similarly, the Governor’s proposed “Fairness Formula” would split the approximately $9 billion of direct school aid in the state budget into equal school aid for each student. Each public school district would receive $6,599 per enrolled student, along with aid for special needs students.

“When some districts continue to fail decade after decade, it’s clear that money is not the answer,” said Doherty. “The only result of New Jersey taxpayers spending nearly $100 billion in a handful of school districts has been the highest property taxes in the nation. It’s time that we end this failed Supreme Court experiment that favors some over others, restore fairness, and provide real property tax relief to overtaxed New Jerseyans.”

In his announcement, the Governor cited the impact the “Fairness Formula” would have on some typical towns, noting the percent their state school aid would increase over current levels and the drop in property taxes that would result:

  • Fair Lawn: 815% school aid increase, $2,200 property tax decrease;
  • Freehold Township: 153% school aid increase, $1,500 property tax decrease;
  • Haddonfield: 1705% school aid increase, $3,600 property tax decrease;
  • Readington: 410% school aid increase, $2,000 property tax decrease;
  • Robbinsville: 666% school aid increase, $2,600 property tax decrease; and
  • Wayne: 1181% school aid increase, $2,100 property tax decrease.

“If we have any hope of making New Jersey affordable again, a fair funding formula for schools has to be part of the solution,” added Doherty. “Cutting thousands from the average New Jersey resident’s property tax bill would be a game changer.”

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