Lawmakers blast Murphy's school aid cuts

13 Mar 2019 | 01:25

    Senator Steven Oroho, Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths (all R-24) reacted to news that Governor Murphy's proposed budget includes a dramatic decrease in state aid to schools within the 24th Legislative District.
    District 24, which includes towns in Sussex, Warren and Morris Counties, is slated to lose more than $5,519,000 in State school aid next school year under Governor Murphy's proposed budget, according to documentation released by the State Department of Education.
    "For years, we have been sounding the alarm about the dire need to fix New Jersey's terribly flawed school funding formula," Oroho said. "Regretfully, any funding scenario that formularizes the Abbott mandates which translates into two-thirds of all State aid going to a handful of urban school districts will always be flawed no matter how you run numbers. Our students and our taxpayers deserve better treatment, and we will continue to fight for them until we get a school funding formula that treats every student equally.”
    Last year, Oroho, Space and Wirths voted against the changes (S-2) to the school funding formula which resulted in the aid cuts. The funding cuts to local school districts when the formula change is fully phased in over the next six years will total $40 million less annually.
    The legislators thanked those school districts, like North Warren Regional, who showed up in Trenton this week with busloads of students to demonstrate against school aid cuts. The legislators have been working closely with school districts since funding changes were initially contemplated in 2017. Fortunately, the District 24 legislators working with then-Governor Christie were able to restore funds that were slated to be taken away by legislative Democrats in the FY ’18 State Budget. North Warren Regional was one of those school districts who had aid restored during that time.
    “Since Governor Murphy has taken office, it has been an assault on our school districts,” continued Space. “The governor likes to talk about ‘tax fairness’, but there’s nothing fair about taking resources from one school district and giving it to another, increasing the local property tax burden, and not doing anything to cure the underlying problem of a flawed school funding formula.”
    Senator Oroho has always taken particular issue with a provision of the school funding formula that is termed the geographic cost factor.
    “Governor Murphy’s pursuit of a progressive fiscal agenda has and will continue to drive up our taxes, and his aid cuts to our schools will only increase property taxes, so there’s no rest for the tax weary in New Jersey, especially in our local communities,” said Wirths. “I find it unconscionable that the State can find money to fund college for illegal immigrants, but we can’t provide adequate funds to afford all K-12 students a quality education. I hope our school personnel as well taxpayers rise up and join with us to say ‘enough is enough’.”