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Eustace: Chronic Underfunding of Public School Districts by Christie Administration is Undermining NJ’s Educational System

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic) issued the following statement Friday criticizing the Christie administration for continuing to disregard the school funding formula and grossly underfunding public school districts throughout the state, including the Lodi Public School District, which was among the most underfunded districts in the 2015-2016 school year.

This week, the Education Law Center (EDC) released a list of the “Top 50 Most Underfunded Districts” in the 2015-2016 school year. According to the EDC, under Governor Christie, 40 percent of New Jersey districts now have funding levels below their School Funding Reform Act “adequacy budgets”, or the amount needed to provide a thorough and efficient education to all students.

“The Education Law Center recently identified the “Top 50 Most Underfunded Districts” in the 2015-2016 school year, and I was dismayed to see the Lodi Public School District included in the list.

“The school funding formula has not been properly funded for years, and the end result has been disproportionate funding that threatens the ability of many districts to adequately serve their students.

“The Lodi Public School District, which had the misfortune of making the list, received 40 percent of the funding it was entitled to under the formula. While not on the list, Hasbrouck Heights School District only received 19 percent and the River Edge Elementary School District received just 15 percent.

“According to the Education Law Center, the level of underfunding in the current school year is $1 billion, and the most underfunded districts are those with high concentrations of at-risk and ELL students.

“Looking at the governor’s proposed budget for next year, the prognosis is equally grim.

“School districts have had no other recourse but to cut services and reduce staff, which ultimately hurts the quality of education that students receive. If the administration continues to absolve itself of its responsibility to properly educate its young people, the watering down of our educational system will continue.

“By failing our children, the governor is actively disinvesting in the future of our state.”