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Senator Samuel Thompson

Senator Sam Thompson

Thompson, Dancer & Clifton: School Districts Like Chesterfield Shortchanged by Murphy’s Misguided School Funding Plan

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Call for School Funding Reform to Fix Broken Formula

Senator Sam Thompson, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, and Assemblyman Robert Clifton (R-12) responded to Gov. Phil Murphy’s release of proposed state school aid for 2019, which failed to provide necessary school funding increases for underfunded districts like Chesterfield and Kingsway:

Thompson, Dancer & Clifton responded to Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed state school aid for 2019, which fails to provide necessary funding increases for underfunded districts like Chesterfield. (©iStock)

“Governor Murphy’s budget proposal fails to meet the needs of Chesterfield’s students and teachers,” said Thompson. “This is unacceptable and provides further proof that New Jersey’s school funding formula is critically flawed and in need of reform. While the formula is flawed, the application is even worse, with many school districts such as Jersey City being utterly overfunded.”

“I agree with the Assembly Majority Leader, a Democrat, who released a statement today saying the Governor’s proposed school aid does not remedy the situation,” added Thompson. “Despite being of different political parties, we both agree that struggling districts such as Chesterfield and Kingsway continue to be left behind under Governor Murphy’s plan.”

School aid figures released by the Murphy Administration yesterday propose to give the Chesterfield School District a meager $41,060 increase. This is despite the fact Chesterfield only receives 19% of the aid dictated by the school funding formula.

Meanwhile, other school districts that have been overfunded received substantially larger increases under the Governor’s plan, including districts that have seen reductions in enrollment.

Last year, Thompson served on the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness, which sought to find solutions to fix New Jersey’s inequitable school aid formula.

“Unfortunately the bipartisan school funding reform fixes we identified were not implemented,” said Dancer. “The Governor’s proposal is proof that the school funding reform must be accomplished before we pour money into a formula that continues to leave deserving districts like Chesterfield and Kingsway behind.”

Chesterfield is one of 96 districts that have received less than 70 percent of the state school aid they are owed. In 2017, despite Chesterfield having the second- lowest per pupil spending in Burlington County, its residents paid the second-highest property taxes in Burlington County.

“The new governor touted his plan to increase school funding for all of New Jersey,” Clifton added. “The students of Chesterfield, however, will continue to be short-changed by his budget. This will have a detrimental impact on our children’s education and cause property taxes to continue rising. We applaud Chesterfield students, teachers, and parents for their proactive fight for fair funding. I speak for all three legislators when I say we will not rest until Chesterfield receives the school funding they deserve.”

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