Thursday, January 24, 2019

Actual Enrollment versus Weighted Enrollment for NJ School Districts

SFRA wonks reading this already know that SFRA is a "weighted aid formula" which sets higher spending targets for districts with more at-risk students than it does for districts with fewer at-risk students.  Thus, a district with more high school students, more students who are Free & Reduced Lunch eligible, and more students who are English Language Learners will have a higher Adequacy Budget than a district where the students are uniformly middle-class and Anglophone.  SFRA wonks know that SFRA also uses "exponential weighting" for at-risk students, which means that there are additional added weights for at-risk students who attend a district that is 40-60% FRL-eligible and a higher weight still if a district is over 60% FRL-eligible.

If you're curious about what the weights actually are, the 2016 Education Adequacy Report provides them.


SFRA uses its weighting formula to create an "Adequacy Budget" for a district, ie, the amount a district should spend in order to provide a "thorough and efficient education."

Under SFRA, if a district's tax base is insufficient to meet its Adequacy Budget, the district receives Equalization Aid to make up the difference under the formula.  SFRA's term for a district's tax-levy capacity is "Local Fair Share."

Hence, a district like Asbury Park, whose students are  over 90% FRL-eligible, has an actual enrollment of 2,168, but a "weighted enrollment" of 3,563.  Freehold Boro has an actual enrollment of 1,673 and a "weighted enrollment" of 2,503.

On the other hand, a district with middle-class or affluent students will have a much weaker weighting.  North Caldwell, an elementary-only district whose students are very affluent, has an actual enrollment of 651 and a weighted enrollment of 655.   Chesterfield, another elementary-only district, but which is more middle-class than North Caldwell, has an actual enrollment is 770 and its "weighted enrollment" is only 788.

After calculating a district's Adequacy Budget and separately calculating the Local Fair Share, SFRA applies this formula to calculate Equalization Aid, the most important stream of aid:

Equalization Aid = Adequacy Budget - Local Fair Share.

Anyway, if you've ever wondered what your district's weighted enrollment is or how high the weighting can inflate a district's enrollment, this Weighted Enrollment Spreadsheet gives you your answers.

The following districts whose enrollments are inflated the most through the "weighted enrollment" process.

DistrictProjected EnrollmentProjected Weighted EnrollmentPercentage DifferenceAbbott?
ASBURY PARK 2,1683,563164.3%Yes
UNION CITY12,36320,118162.7%Yes
EAST NEWARK 348564162.1%No
ATLANTIC CITY6,72310,876161.8%No
PASSAIC CITY14,23522,960161.3%Yes
PLEASANTVILLE 3,5465,677160.1%Yes
PLAINFIELD 10,25216,362159.6%Yes
TRENTON 15,16124,168159.4%Yes
BRIDGETON 5,9239,441159.4%Yes
LAKEWOOD 5,9979,558159.4%No
LONG BRANCH CITY5,1048,111158.9%Yes
PERTH AMBOY 10,38816,457158.4%Yes
PAULSBORO 1,0571,674158.4%No
ELIZABETH 26,15841,389158.2%Yes
NEW BRUNSWICK 9,96215,748158.1%Yes
MANCHESTER REG.8711,375157.9%No
CITY OF ORANGE TWP5,2478,266157.5%Yes
WILDWOOD CITY7171,125156.9%No
WOODLYNNE BORO568891156.9%No
NEWARK 51,89681,253156.6%Yes
WEST NEW YORK 7,71912,084156.5%Yes
IRVINGTON 7,73912,111156.5%Yes
CAMDEN CITY15,51224,255156.4%Yes
PATERSON 28,71644,855156.2%Yes
LINDENWOLD BORO2,7534,295156.0%No
DOVER TOWN2,8894,490155.4%No
HARRISON (Hudson)2,1383,314155.0%Yes
GUTTENBERG 1,3332,061154.6%No
BOUND BROOK 1,7652,711153.6%No

2021 Update:

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