Governor’s School Funding Proposal Would Be Windfall For School District, Taxpayers

Christie at TEECS - 1

A plan by Gov. Chris Christie, left, to overhaul the state’s school funding formula could lead to a significant increase in state aid to township schools.

Franklin Township schools stand to receive significantly more state aid if Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to revamp school funding becomes law.

Although exact figures are not yet available, the district could see somewhere between a 200 percent and 300 percent increase in the amount of state aid it receives.

Further, a web site created by the governor’s office calculates that the average township property owner would realize a $1,202 savings in property taxes should the plan go into effect.

Christie on June 21 announced his plan to scrap the current school funding system and replace it with his “Fairness Formula,” under which every district in the state would receive $6,599 per student.

In a press conference at Hillsborough High School announcing the proposal, Christie said the plan would give 75 percent of the state’s school districts an increase in state aid, while acknowledging that it would reduce the amount of aid given to urban districts.

It’s that cut in urban district aid that has sparked the ire of state Democrats, who say the plan will never be passed.

The governor said he’d like to see the question on the 2017 ballot, which is the year New Jerseyans will pick a new governor.

Christie’s plan would not affect aid for special needs students, which would remain intact.

Franklin received $13,153,588 in total state aid for the 2015-16 school year, and district officials have estimated it will receive $13,283,157 in the 2016-17 school year, amounting to about 9 percent of the current fund portion of the budget.

Here’s one hypothetical way of looking at how the plan would affect township schools: District officials estimate that there will be a total of 8,096 students in township schools in the 2016-17 school year. If Christie’s formula were in place now, that could mean the district would receive $53,425,504 in basic state aid, a 306 percent increase, which would comprise about 36 percent of the current fund portion of the 2016-17 budget.

Board of Education president Ed Potosnak said he was told by a governor’s representative that the district would receive a 218 percent increase, but was given no further numbers. The representative said a explanatory sheet would be sent out soon.

Potosnak said in a statement that regardless of the extra aid it would mean for township schools, Christie’s plan “short-changes our most needy students.”

The plan, he wrote, ignores “years of research and case law showing investing in the education of our children is one of the the best investments we can make. It is ridiculous to think every student costs the same to educate—and while it may be politically expedient to ignore language barriers and income-related challenges, in the long run all of New Jersey will suffer as students left behind are unable to reach their maximum potential and become productive members of society.”

“Unfortunately, children who receive an inadequate education, one that does not meet his or her individual needs, suffer from the loss of substantial income potential,” Potosnak wrote. “Luckily, Christie will be gone in 18 months and the state can focus on meaningful solutions to our challenges instead of proposals to attract headlines for Donald Trump’s hate-driven campaign.”


Your Thoughts


Please Support Independent Journalism In Franklin Township!

No other media outlet covering Franklin Township brings you the depth of information presented by the Franklin Reporter & Advocate. Period. We are the only truly independent media serving the Eight Villages.

But we can only do that with your support. Please consider a yearly subscription to our online news site; at $37 a year, it’s one of the best investments you can make in our community.

To subscribe, please click here.

Other News From The Eight Villages …