Legislation Would Provide Additional Per Pupil Funding
To Support Schools Districts at the Top of the Class
(HAMILTON) – As New Jersey students settle into the new school year, Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo on Tuesday underscored the need for adequate funding for school districts that educate students at the highest performance level while maximizing use of taxpayer dollars.
DeAngelo touted a bill he recently introduced (A-4249) that would create the Academic Achievement and Efficiency Rewards Program within the Department of Education to provide additional financial reDests to school districts with a proven track record of efficiency and results.
“Many of our school districts are stretching every dollar to provide the best education possible for students,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “However, given the reduced levels of school funding, schools are coming up short in their budgets and forced to make cuts to programs or increase class sizes. We need to find a way to provide reDests to those schools that are leading the way in efficiently and effectively operating.”
School districts would be required to meet efficiency education guidelines set forth under the Department of Education’s Taxpayer’s Guide to Education Spending. The district’s per pupil spending cost in the most recent school year budget that was audited must be within the lowest quartile among the school district comparison group, which would determined by enrollment and operating type.
School districts also would need to demonstrate high student academic achievement with at least 75 percent of the students testing in the proficient or advanced proficient range.
“This program would provide an element of accountability in school districts that demonstrate the ability to maximize the impact of taxpayer dollars in order to receive the financial benefit of this program,” DeAngelo said. “If schools do not efficiently and effectively utilize the financial reDests available to them, they would not receive additional state aid.”
Under the legislation, school districts would receive an additional $250 per pupil if they met the standards set forth under the program. This additional “efficiency school aid” would not be calculated as a portion of the school district’s stabilized aid.
DeAngelo crafted the measure after speaking with local school district officials regarding the disparity between funding in neighboring school districts of similar pupil size.
“While every school district deserves adequate funding to meet their educational needs, some schools have found ways to do even more than others with just as limited dollars,” DeAngelo said. “This program would not only reward those schools that use innovative ways to effectively teach students, but also would serve as a catalyst to encouraging other schools to do the same if they hope to obtain additional state aid.”
The bill was proposed for introduction on June 29 and will be referred to the appropriate legislative committee at the next quorum call of the General Assembly.
DeAngelo represents the 14th Legislative District, which includes portions of Middlesex and Mercer counties.