NJEA praised Gov. Phil Murphy for signing a new school funding bill into law today. The bill modifies school funding law to eliminate adjustment aid and State aid growth limit, and it allows adjustment to the tax levy growth limitation for certain school districts. The new law puts New Jersey’s schools on a fair path toward full funding as defined by the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) of 2008.
NJEA’s officers applauded the governor and the Legislature for keeping school funding a top priority during this year’s budget process.
“When we fully fund our public schools, our children learn and our communities thrive” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “For too long, New Jersey’s schools have been underfunded and ignored, forcing schools to survive on nothing more than slogans and empty promises. Our schools have been forced to do more with less and this law puts all districts on a path to a funding level that is consistent with the SFRA. By signing this school funding bill into law, Gov. Murphy continues to stand up for public education and the people that dedicate their lives to educating our youth.”
NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller noted the bill provides time for districts to prepare for changes in state aid allocations.
“This bill gives school districts 7 years to slowly adjust by allowing them to work with leaders in their local communities to ensure that the public schools are adequately funded” noted Spiller. “This bill provides the tools necessary to ensure that school districts will not have to increase class sizes with cuts to school personnel or have to cut essential school programs as a result of State-aid allocation. This is the way to address problems with school funding: the state is helping districts as they learn to educate in this new reality.”
NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty emphasized the importance of reaching adequate funding as defined by the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA).
“After 8 years and a more than $8 billion shortfall in adequate school funding, we are finally on a realistic path to ensuring that every child attending a New Jersey public school will get the ‘thorough and efficient’ education they deserve” said Beatty. “As we make this transition,” he said acknowledging unforeseen challenges, “we must commit to coming back to the table if this law is not working for our children. We must remain open to tweaking this law to ensure positive outcomes for every New Jersey school district.”