Gopal, New Jersey Democrats seek school funding formula task force, but they still won’t share the current model that deprives many ‘wealthy’ districts

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New Jersey Democrat Senator Vin Gopal on a recent visit to Lakewod Township.

Trenton –  Those shady New Jersey Democrats are at it again. They want to change the school funding model, a state secret being kept away from anyone who asks to see the current formula. The current school funding formula is a mess, based on an unknown factor of equity and educational social justice that deprives the ‘rich kids’ from getting the funding needed in their towns.

Governor Phil Murphy and the Democrats now want to look into the existing model and suggest changes. But they still won’t call on their boss, Governor Murphy to release the current funding model.

Here’s a press release released by the New Jersey Democrats today:

To ensure that the school funding formula is meeting the needs of students in every school district, the Senate Education Committee today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal to establish the School Funding Formula Evaluation Task Force.

“We need to make sure that New Jersey’s schools are the best in the nation, and that our system of school funding is equitable and affordable,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth), who chairs the Senate Education Committee. “The School Funding Reform Act requires the formula to be evaluated every three years, but only certain provisions are considered. This legislation would require a fundamental reassessment of the funding formula to determine whether it still reflects the true cost of education in New Jersey.”

The bill, S-354, would establish a task force to study, evaluate and, if needed, suggest changes to the School Funding Reform Act of 2008. The task force would assess the various weights applied to different student characteristics – such “at risk” or English Language Limited students – geographic cost adjustments and the provision of special education aid.

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“Special education funding is an issue of particular interest,” Senator Gopal said. “There has been considerable debate about the impact of the current census-based formula used to calculate special education aid, which funds every district based on the assumption that their special education needs reflect a 15 percent statewide average percentage of students with disabilities.

“As a result, districts get the same aid whether they have large populations of students with disabilities or not, and regardless of whether they are spending as much as they should or providing the special education their students need,” he said.

The bill, which is co-sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho (R-Sussex/Morris/Warren), was unanimously approved.