Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblywoman Alison McHose and Assemblyman Parker Space, all R-24, issued the following statements regarding today’s report issued by state Comptroller Matt Boxer on an audit revealing false income information being supplied by applicants for the Free School Lunch Program.
Oroho: “Taxpayers across the state should be outraged over the findings contained in this audit. The deceit involved in the application process is outrageous as are the excuses offered by the applicants. Deliberately understating a family’s income cheats other school districts in receiving aid. I agree with the comptroller’s recommendation that the Corzine school aid funding formula needs to be changed. Today’s audit and the one issued two years totally support that necessity.”
McHose: “The comptroller’s report should concern all taxpayers. It is absurd that some school districts hold events or offer gift cards encouraging people to apply for this program. Deserving students across the state are having more than lunch money stolen. They are missing out on other educational resources that unscrupulous people have no compunction about taking, and as a result, property taxpayers are not receiving the relief they need. This report is further proof that the educational funding formula needs to be reformed immediately.”
Space: “Once again, the report shows how flawed the school funding formula is. The lunch program costs taxpayers roughly $5,200 per student in additional aid. Students who properly qualify for this program may be denied because of the selfishness of others. At the same time, unqualified students enrolled in the program inflate the funding a school district receives. Both eligible students and taxpayers are being robbed.”