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Monroe Pushes for Full State Aid Funding in Trenton

04/27/2017

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 26, 2017

Monroe Pushes for Full State Aid Funding in Trenton

TRENTON – More than 150 attendees, representing school districts from across New Jersey, filed into the Assembly Budget Committee’s hearing at the State House Monday in a concerted effort to protest the disparity in state-aid funding.

It was standing room only, as districts such as Monroe Township, Red Bank Borough, Delran Township, Robbinsville Township, Kingsway Regional and Freehold Borough packed the room, bringing visual attention through an array of colored T-shirts and hand-held signs to a long-spanning problem brought about by a state-aid funding formula that has not been adhered to in seven years.  These extensive shortfalls have crippled many districts’ ability to adequately educate students.

“We are dealing with a 41 percent reduction in state aid since 2008,” said Kathy Kolupanowich, Monroe school board president, whose camp amounted to more than a dozen Monday.  “To give some perspective, the average annual funding per pupil in Monroe has fallen from $864 to $426 in that same time frame.  Meanwhile, our student body has grown by 20 percent.”

A major crux of the issue is that the Department of Education has not accounted for student growth in its state-aid allocation for several years now, which many advocates argue has led to unequitable distributions.

“Our students are among a pool of nearly one million children statewide whose education is being underfunded by the state,” said Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro.  “Meanwhile, there are about $600 million dollars going to overfunded districts. Monroe Township’s taxpayers are currently self-funding 89 percent of a $124 million budget each year. It’s time for Trenton to take action.”

New Jersey Department of Education’s Acting Commissioner, Kimberley Harrington, told Assembly Budget Committee members that a $1 billion deficit in funding has stalled the State from putting the current formula into motion.  Legislators responded by calling on the department to start exploring new solutions.

“The parents, educators and school advocates made their voices heard at Monday’s hearing seven years since the Governor’s Administration slashed funding to the bare bones,” said Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo (D-Mercer and Middlesex).   “The lack of effort by the Department of Education to address the problem for so long is appalling.

“Today’s testimony by state education officials proved that they have turned a deaf ear to our residents who have been crying out for relief.  We will not stop fighting for it, however.  We will continue to voice the need for increased funding for suburban school districts,” added DeAngelo.

“After years of advocating for fair funding for our districts, I’m hopeful that our voices will be heard with relief in this year’s budget,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Mercer and Middlesex).  “We cannot wait anymore for help for our seniors who have been hurt by flat funding despite huge increases in student population.”

Members of the public who attended Monday’s hearing, expressed their intent to return for next week’s Senate budget hearing. 

“Monroe Township schools and taxpayers are struggling as a result of underfunding from the state, and the Governor has again proposed shortchanging Monroe and other districts in the fiscal year 2018 State budget.  Districts can’t afford to continue to wait for additional aid,” said Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer and Middlesex), who attended the hearing to lend her support to increased funding. “We need to provide Monroe with full funding under the constitutionally approved school-funding formula.”

“I look forward to state officials coming before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on May 2,” Greenstein added. “As a member of the committee and on behalf of the hard-pressed taxpayers of Monroe, I expect to continue to press Christie administration officials for funding fairness.’’

For further details, contact Monroe Township’s Public Information Officer Maria Prato at 732-521-4400 or mprato@monroetwp.com.

 

Valid from 04/27/2017 to 04/27/2027


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