New Jersey's 10th Legislative District

Holzapfel, McGuckin & Catalano

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10th District Legislators Applaud Judge for Ordering Transparency from NJDOE in School Aid Calculations

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The 10th District Legislators, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano, applauded an important order that will provide clarity to the Brick and Toms River school districts following massive cuts in State aid under the unfair and biased funding formula imposed by S-2.

Holzapfel, McGuckin & Catalano applauded an important order that will provide clarity to the Brick and Toms River school districts following massive cuts in State aid under the unfair and biased funding formula imposed by S-2. (SenateNJ.com)

In a victory in the ongoing fight for transparency in school funding, Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson has ordered the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to turn over the algorithm used to calculate State aid for public school districts.

“We applaud Judge Jacobson for requiring transparency from the NJDOE on the school funding issue that has been so devastating to our local school districts and property taxpayers. We have repeatedly demanded that the Department of Education reveal their process for calculating Local Fair Share and have even introduced legislation to require them to do so,” said Senator Holzapfel. “It’s appalling that the NJDOE would keep their calculations a secret for so long, which impacts how much our property taxpayers are forced to pay and how many teachers we can keep in our classrooms.”

In January of 2020, the legislators introduced S-2438/A-452 to address ongoing transparency issues with the methods used to determine State school aid. The bill requires the Department of Education to release to the school district the data and software program used to calculate aid.

“The NJDOE finally has been forced to turn over their algorithms and face the accountability that has been lacking for too long,” continued McGuckin. “So far, the information provided to Brick and Toms River Schools from the NJDOE is so cryptic that additional experts are required to decipher what it means. It’s clear that the Murphy Administration continues to attempt to hide the truth because they know they’ll be forced to reveal how their unethical distribution of aid favors a handful of urban school districts at our expense.”

Schools in the 10th Legislative District have had their funding severely cut under Governor Murphy’s budgets, and attempts to have the Department of Education provide full transparency when determining Local Fair Share have been unsuccessful until now.

Under the bill introduced by the legislators, the department would be required to provide the software program regardless of whether or not the department considers the program to be ‘proprietary,’ a claim that the NJDOE has stuck with since the beginning.

“School funding under the Governor’s administration has been anything but ‘fair’ and our children are suffering,” added Catalano. “Through the combination of our legislation and Judge Jacobson’s order, we believe the NJDOE will not be able to hide under ‘proprietary’ conditions any longer. The truth will come out and the Governor and the NJDOE will have some explaining to do to our local districts, families, and taxpayers.”

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Jim Holzapfel

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