Dear Senator Buono:
The 7,000 members of Save Our Schools NJ, a nonpartisan, statewide, grass roots organization, are firmly opposed to the changes to New Jersey’s current school funding formula in Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed fiscal year 2013 State budget. These changes reduce funding for the neediest students, including those in your legislative district.
We also are opposed to the proposed budget’s failure to fully fund either the current school funding formula or the governor’s proposed formula until 2017. This translates into a state funding reduction of more than $2.5 billion between 2013 and 2017, including a reduction of more than $54,239,913 for the schools in your district.
Below are the amounts that the proposed budget underfunds the current school funding formula (SFRA) for the individual school districts that you represent. You can find the impact of the proposed budget on other New Jersey school districts at www.saveourschoolsnj.org/funding-formula.
As you can see, the proposed budget would result in substantial reductions in state aid to your legislative district, undermining the public schools and placing a greater burden on your constituents’ property taxes. In order to prevent this from happening, the funding formula changes in the proposed budget must be rejected and the obligation to fund public education must be met more fully.
Beyond objecting to the funding formula changes and underfunding in the proposed budget, we reject the use of the State budget to change the school funding formula. This formula was developed by the Legislature with extensive counsel from education experts and with significant community input. It should not be changed without a deliberative legislative effort that enables both groups to provide substantive feedback.
The school funding formula also should not be changed without properly evaluating the impact of the current formula.
As part of that, the Legislature is entitled to review the funding formula adequacy report. The Department of Education was required by law to issue this report more than a year ago, but so far has failed to do so. The Administration should not be allowed to alter the formula without fulfilling its legal obligations and providing the adequacy report.
We look forward to the opportunity to speak with you soon regarding this issue.
Deborah Cornavaca, PhD
Save Our Schools NJ
Julia Sass Rubin, PhD
Save Our Schools NJ
cc. Superintendents school districts within the 18th Legislative District.