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On Aug. 11, the New Jersey School Boards Association provided members of the state Legislature with a statement on the Association’s position regarding two major proposals concerning education funding, the Creation of a School Aid Funding Fairness Commission, and the Fairness Formula.

NJSBA Beliefs on School Funding   Michael Vrancik, NJSBA director of governmental relations, noted in the statement that New Jersey’s local school boards face two major challenges in school funding: A school finance formula that has not fully operated for several years and has resulted in a number of districts not able to spend at levels deemed adequate for a thorough and efficient education, and the overreliance on property taxes to fund education.

“Resolving these issues requires a careful, well-thought-out approach that guarantees the funding necessary to meet the education needs of every student,” noted the statement. “NJSBA believes that the purpose of a school funding system is to ensure that each and every student has the opportunity to reach his or her potential. To do that, a funding system must recognize a community’s resources to fund education, and the educational needs of students.”

Below are the summaries of the public statements NJSBA has made concerning the two proposals.

School Aid Funding Fairness Commission (June 9, 2016) NJSBA shares the ultimate goal of this proposal: Fair and adequate state funding for all school districts. We also support the implementation of a study to attain this goal. Many factors to be addressed by the study commission, such as the tax levy cap, the administrative spending growth limit and the calculation of a community’s contribution (“fair share”,) require review since they affect a school district’s ability to provide an adequate education.

However, NJSBA would await the results of the study commission’s recommendations and their impact on all school districts before endorsing a specific reform plan.

The Fairness Formula (June 21, 2016) Our initial response to this proposal is one of serious concern. Throughout its history, the New Jersey School Boards Association has unequivocally opposed changes in state education funding that would create “losers” among students and school districts.

NJSBA has always been sensitive to the property tax burden on New Jersey school districts and its impact on their ability to support education programs. However, we would oppose any plan that would force the elimination of existing programs, and thus harm the quality of education for any student.

NJSBA will continue to monitor the progress of these, and any other school funding proposals.