New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Joe Pennacchio
Senator Tom Kean

Senate Republicans Urge Governor to Reject Backroom Deal on School Funding

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A letter signed by all sixteen members of the Senate Republican caucus was sent to Governor Chris Christie urging him to reject the school funding plan proposed by Democratic leadership, saying it does nothing to fix the systemic problems in New Jersey’s school funding formula. In the letter to the governor, the Republican senators said the deal between Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto was made without transparency and completely ignored months of work by the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness.

Senate Republicans asked Gov. Christie to reject backroom deal on school funding. (

“This plan was negotiated in secret by the Democratic leadership and does nothing to fix the many problems inherent in our flawed school funding formula,” said Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Essex, Bergen, Passaic), Vice-Chair of the Senate Select Committee on School Funding Fairness. “Mr. Governor, please kill this backroom deal.”

The Senate Republican caucus urged the governor to consider incorporating the recommendations made in their plan for school funding, including, fully funding extraordinary special education and eliminating abuses that allow some cities to game the school funding formula to get aid they don’t deserve at the expense of other school districts.

“The Democrats found $176 million to politically satisfy the needs of one party’s school districts, yet they found zero money to help special education and our most vulnerable children,” said Pennacchio. “We’ve said from the start that funding special education is a core Republican priority that we will fight for. Our call to fully fund extraordinary special education would cost much less than what they’ve proposed to funnel into the same broken formula.”

Kean called on the Governor to reject the Sweeney/Prieto plan.

“Senate Republicans worked in good faith through a bipartisan committee to develop a fair, sustainable school funding formula,” said Kean. “At the last minute, Democrats abandoned our open process for a backroom deal that leaves many districts drastically underfunded, perpetuates abuses, and is unaffordable without future tax increases. We urge Governor Christie to reject the Democrats’ partisan plan.”

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