WATSON COLEMAN QUESTIONS IMPACT OF CHRISTIE’S CONTINUED INADEQUATE SCHOOL FUNDING

Assembly Budget Committee member Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) today questioned the impact that Governor Christie’s second year of massive school aid cuts will have on the education system in New Jersey.

As the Assembly Budget Committee meets with the State Treasurer, Watson Coleman noted that the modest increase in school aid that the Governor has proposed would still leave districts way below the FY 2010 funding levels.

“For FY 2012 the Governor’s budget proposes increasing school aid by $250 million over the FY 2011 level. Calling this an increase is maddening.

“To put it in the simplest terms, it’s like telling your children you are cutting their allowance by $1, but don’t worry, next year I’ll increase it by a quarter. Even the youngest child will know he is still out 75 cents.

“Direct school aid funding last year was cut by $1 billion, driving up property taxes across the state and resulting in new activity fees charged to parents and reductions in educational quality through changes such as larger class sizes. This funding was about $1.6 billion below what would be required to achieve adequate funding in all districts, per the state’s school funding formula.

“There are over 200 school districts that are being funded below adequacy – about one in every three districts across the state. Inadequate funding is not an Abbott issue. It is not a Democratic issue. It is not an urban issue. It touches every corner of our state.

“There is a constitutional issue at stake here that impacts the very future of our children, one we cannot afford to ignore.”