(TRENTON) – Assembly Democrats Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly (Both D- Bergen and Passaic) released the following statement on the Governor’s proposed “Fairness Formula”:
“Imposing the Governor’s ‘Fairness Formula’ is anything but fair.
“For school districts who have suffered for decades due to underfunding, this formula the Governor has concocted would be a catastrophic blow to education in this state and undermine the principles determined and made law by Brown vs. the Board of Education for students in economically challenged communities.
“Paterson schools as well as schools in Camden, Trenton and Newark have been resigned to the ‘failure’ category under the Governor’s proposed school funding fix.
“That’s offensive and degrading to the students in these districts. As much as we would like to wave a wand and wipe away the problems facing urban school districts, it can’t be done,” said Sumter, who is the Assembly Majority Conference leader.
“The Governor continues to compare struggling public school districts to local charter schools yet offers in his ‘Fairness Formula’ less than half of the amount charter schools spend per pupil.
“Students in at least 31 school districts in the state are learning in subpar conditions, overcrowded classrooms, some in building over 100 years old and many with outdated computers and books.
“Decreasing per pupil funding for these districts, which have had to wage legal battles over the years to obtain funding, is robbery — plain and simple.
“This formula will never get through the legislature the way it stands now.
“You cannot fix years of state takeovers and underfunding education by throwing a blanket solution over it.
“The formula sends a ‘tough luck’ message to students, teachers and administrators who have worked far too long to make due with less and less,” said Wimberly, an educator in the Paterson School District for 27 years.