Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Essex, Morris, Passaic) released the following statement condemning the multi-million dollar cuts in State Aid to schools in his Legislative district.
Sen. Joe Pennacchio condemned the millions in cuts to local schools proposed under Governor Murphy’s budget. (SenateNJ.com)
“When politicians play games with the school funding formula, our children and taxpayers pay the price. It must stop now. Every child counts, no matter where they live,” Senator Pennacchio (R-26) said. “Parts of my district are losing millions in State aid, so Governor Murphy can pay for new programs we can’t afford. That’s shameful.”
“West Milford alone would lose nearly a million dollars in school funding under Murphy’s budget and Jefferson would lose even more,” Pennacchio added. “How are they supposed to make up for such an enormous cut? Because of our Highlands restrictions and the much-needed property tax cap, we have nowhere else to turn when the state cuts our funding. Teachers could be laid off. Thousands of students won’t have the resources they need to succeed.
“A budget with these kinds of politically-motivated cuts isn’t strong or fair. Governor Murphy is supposed to represent every municipality in New Jersey, but he’s not acting like it. The government shouldn’t get to pick winners and losers.”
West Milford would lose $950,066 in State aid under Governor Murphy’s budget proposal. Jefferson Township will lose more than $1,193,302, which represents a 7.7 percent decrease in funding, according to documentation released by the State Department of Education. Both municipalities are within Senator Pennacchio’s Legislative district.
Pennacchio noted that despite drastic changes in the tax base and widespread gentrification, some cities still benefit from school funding gimmicks, such as unnecessary pilot programs and an inequitable amount of school aid, while many other municipalities across New Jersey are still underfunded.
The day before Governor Murphy delivered his budget address, Senator Pennacchio joined his fellow Senate Republicans and school superintendents from across New Jersey to announce new school funding reforms. The bill package is designed to improve educational opportunities and lower property taxes, by boosting State support for special education, increasing equity and accuracy of school aid allocations, and eliminating gimmicks that allow districts and municipalities to game the funding formula.
“My Senate Republican colleagues and I have a proposed reforms that would create equal educational opportunities for every family, with a particular focus on how we fund special education,” Pennacchio said. “School funding shouldn’t be used as a slush fund for a progressive agenda. If Governor Murphy thinks there is extra money in the budget, then he should focus on helping our most vulnerable kids rise up, regardless of where they live.”
Click here to read more about the Senate Republican “Every Child Counts” school funding reform plan.
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