New Jersey school-funding formula assailed



Some New Jersey lawmakers and parents are calling for a redistribution of state aid to schools.

Sen. Jennifer Beck said it’s unfair that some better-funded school districts are not seeing a reduction in state aid while other districts with dramatic increases in student enrollment are getting virtually no increases in state funding.

“They’re bursting at the seams. We’ve got kids being taught in the hallway, on stages, wherever they can find room, and they can’t do it anymore,” said Beck, R-Monmouth. “We have to redistribute the state aid.”

Wayne Woolley’s two daughters attend Red Bank Middle School. He told a Senate committee that the school district is getting less state aid than required by the state funding formula even though the student population is increasing.

“We’ve been shorted about $7 million over the past six years. It’s beginning to have an impact on the programs,” Woolley said. “We’ve had to lose some instruction positions. We’ve had to lose an award-winning strings orchestra. We’ve had to turn to private partnerships to fund sports.”

Sen. Jeff Van Drew said some districts won’t want to see the funding distribution changed.

“There are people on the other side who are going to get hurt … some people think that’s morally right, that’s the way it should be, that’s a good thing,” said VanDrew, D-Atlantic. “But the folks sure aren’t going to feel that way that take that hit.”

Education Commissioner David Hespe said the state doesn’t have the $900 million to fully cover requirements of the school-funding formula.

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