Thursday, January 19, 2017

NJ Superintendents Stand Up for Fair Aid

At the Joint Committee on the Public Schools' hearing on state aid on January 17th, Dr. Ken Greene of Newton and Patrick Fletcher of River Dell, speaking for the NJ Association of School Administrators (eg, superintendents), gave a presentation and address on state aid and why eliminating Adjustment Aid is a must-do for the state of New Jersey.

The School Funding presentation is highly informative and it's something everyone interested in state aid should go through.

The presentation has a very important section "Myths and Facts," which attempts to clear up some widespread misunderstandings:

  • districts all over New Jersey are underaided.  Contrary to some assertions, slightly fewer South Jersey are underaided than Central and North Jersey districts.
  • district of all sizes are underaided, not just small ones.  Contrary to some assertions that school fiscal problems could be resolved by a wave of consolidation, slightly more large districts are underaided than large districts.
  • Abbotts and non-Abbotts are underaided.  Of the 31 Abbotts, 17 are underaided.  
  • Inequity isn't new.  It has always existed and New Jersey has never consistently funded its aid formula going back to 1976.

And, most powerfully:

The presentation also breaks down underfunding into two parts, $1.4 billion in underfunding, and $600 million in "inequitable distribution."  (which I refer to as "excess aid.")

These figures are slightly different from figures I've received from the DOE, in which I had $1.5 billion in underfunding and $550 million in inequitable distribution (of which $50 million is for Interdistrict Choice), but the sum of $2 billion is the same figure I have and reflects the true cost of fully funding SFRA without redistribution.

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