Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose and Assemblyman Gary Chiusano (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said today’s release of state school aid numbers are a cause of great concern to them as school districts in Sussex, Warren and Morris Counties continue to be deprived of their fair share of education funding.
“This is exactly why we need a new funding formula that is balanced and accountable,” said Oroho. “Dozens of our local school districts are now among about 185 suburban and rural districts shortchanged from receiving basic aid, leaving them faced with potential increases in already too costly property taxes.”
Simplifying the school funding formula to create reasonable and fair per-pupil costs is a major step toward decreasing property taxes, where on average roughly two-thirds of one’s property tax bill goes toward funding local schools. The legislators reiterated that the current school funding formula regretfully maintains about 70 percent of aid for 30 percent of the state’s school districts and per-pupil costs are three-times higher in former Abbott districts.
“Spending the most per-pupil in the country on public education without improvement in the achievement gap between at-risk and non-at-risk students is unacceptable,” McHose said. “Until school funding is distributed more fairly, true property tax relief will not be realized.”
“We’re following a school funding formula that has essentially been written by the state Supreme Court,” continued Chiusano. “The state Legislature, not the Court, is an elected body. We should be setting school funding policy and that’s what we’ll be fighting for.”
The three legislators said they would use the upcoming budget process to work toward a fairer funding allocation of education resources for the benefit of suburban and rural school districts and taxpayers.