Hold the phones! Here's Education Law Center's Executive Director David Sciarra on funding for charter schools and traditional schools: "You can't fund schools based on who governs them." Advocates for alternative public schools, which receive less state aid based on governance, will be thrilled to hear this from one of their chief naysayers.
Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson had this to say about Gov. Christie's new school funding proposal: “When you start talking about reducing the per pupil amount to some outrageous state average that is not applicable in any urban center, you’re asking for fiscal destruction of urban centers,” the mayor said. “I would hope and don’t think that this could ever get passed.” The Trentonian notes that the plan would flatline all school spending aid, regard of socio-economic status, to $6,559 per pupil. Currently Trenton Public Schools is funded at $23,108 per pupil.
In a blast of serendipity, Jeff Bennett and I simultaneously corrected Dana Goldstein's error-ridden Slate piece on Christie's plan, but from different angles. Read them both for a complete view.
Joan Quigley says that Christie's plan is "unlikely to happen." The Star-Ledger looks at how the proposal would affect charter schools and asks five superintendents for their takes. From Think Progress:
New Jersey State Senator Mike Doherty said he supports the proposal and said taxpayers in wealthy municipalities need state property tax relief. He told NJ.com, "You have all these towns like Hoboken and Jersey City where people are living in million-dollar condos and paying next to nothing in taxes." The proposal does have a Democratic supporter -- Brick Township's Mayor John Ducey who said school funding would be "fair and even."
NJ Spotlight delves into problems, educational and otherwise, in Lakewood: "But the phenomenal growth that turned a struggling former lakeside resort into a boomtown has also strained its outdated infrastructure and led to severe financial deficits in the schools. Together, those problems have created a school busing crisis that has exacerbated social tensions and, according to public school parents, endangered their children’s safety."
A bill in the Senate would require the State to make quarterly payments into the pension fund instead of annual ones and pay off the $5 billion debt in five years. This change would require a constitutional amendment. PolitickerNJ quotes NJBIA President Michele Siekerka, who said that "under this amendment the state would be required to make pension payments before anything else. The pension payment would become a super priority taking precedence over education, healthcare and public safety.” NJEA is for it.
Run for your local school board! The deadline to get your paperwork in is July 25th. Here's more information from New Jersey School Boards Association.