Thursday, July 7, 2016

"Formula4Success" Doesn't Get Capped Aid versus Uncapped aid

I'm worried that Steve Sweeney and his allies are not explaining the difference between capped aid and uncapped aid. I base this on the "Formula4Success" website which shows what percentage of its state aid a district is getting and shows the percentage based on capped aid, not uncapped aid.

Capped aid is not real SFRA full funding. It is an arbitrary amount that is tied to what a district got in 2007-08 (either a 10% increase or a 20% increase, depending on spending relative to Adequacy). Capped aid was intended as an incremental step on the way to uncapped aid, which is real SFRA full funding.

Since 2007-08 was 8 years ago, and many districts have gotten poorer/larger since then, capped aid is even less adequate an amount today than it was when SFRA was passed. Capped aid is going to be even more inadequate in ~2024 when Steve Sweeney's aid plan is fully implemented. (if it passes the legislature, gets Christie's signature, and the state's finances are not wrecked by another recession.)

The fact is, Edison is underaided by $23 million, not $2.5 million.

Sweeney is the Good Guy in state aid, so I have a ton of goodwill towards him, but going for capped aid is worse than a political mistake, it's unfair. If capped aid is the goal, then high-
aid/moderately underaided districts will gain more than low-aid/severely underaided districts.

Compare Red Bank Boro and Newark.  Red Bank Boro now gets $2,164 per student, but its capped aid is only $2,545 per student. The gain is only $381 per student. Newark now gets $14,647 per student, but its capped aid is $16,431 per student. Newark thus gains $1,783 per student.

(See this spreadsheet for actual aid/capped aid/uncapped aid gaps)

For Edison, the difference between capped aid and uncapped aid is $170 per student or $1560 per student.

What Sweeney isn't admitting is that $1 billion isn't enough to fully fund SFRA. If $1 billion is all the state can afford, then fine, there should be a prioritization to give the greatest amounts of money to the most underaided districts.

To be accurate, Sweeney's legislation makes a reference to fixing capped aid in its reference to "aid growth limit provisions," but the Formula4Success website assumes capped aid is the target.  

adjustment aid and State aid growth limit provisions of 40 the “School Funding Reform Act of 2008” (SFRA), P.L.2007, c.260 41 (C.18A:7F-43 et al.), to determine recommendations for revising 42 those provisions in order to bring all school districts to their 43 adequacy budgets as calculated pursuant to section 9 of that act 44 over a period of five school years;

Please write to Sweeney, Ruiz, Houghtaling, and Downey explaining what's wrong and unfair about capped aid targets!


See also this post about Clifton's Fight for Equitable Aid for more explanation of capped aid versus uncapped aid.

See also "The Sweeney Aid Bill: A Preliminary Analysis"


  1. you are probably the only one that truly understands , i wish you had a link to facebook so i could share this

    1. Richard,
      Thank you for reading, but I do have a Facebook page (and Twitter too).

      My Facebook page is

      I have a similar, but slightly shortened, version of this on my Facebook page.