Calls for Increased Aid for Schools with Sharp Enrollment Growth, Improved Special Education, Help for Districts in Dire Need, New Aid Program & Pre-Kindergarten Expansion
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto discusses his framework for school funding reform.
Watch the video here.
Under Prieto’s outline:
· Any district with at least a 10 percent enrollment growth in the past five years would be eligible for supplemental funding;
· Schools suffering the most under the state’s current special education funding formula would receive extra state aid;
· The state would single out districts in dire financial straights, including Paterson Public Schools, for more funding;
· The Department of Education would launch a program – similar to the Department of Community Affairs’ transitional aid – to temporarily help school districts with financial problems; and
· New Jersey would invest an additional $25 million in pre-kindergarten to begin an expansion that has been delayed because of a lack of funding.
Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) expects the total cost to be about $125 million, which would be worked within the state budget proposal. He said he is open to other ideas, but does not favor punishing school districts.
“Student opportunities have to be the top priority,” Prieto said.