TRENTON – Senator John H. Adler, the Senate Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public School Funding Reform during the 2006 Property Tax Special Session, made the following statement after today’s release of a report by the School Boards Association and the Rutgers-Newark Institute on Education Law and Policy outlining legal hurdles New Jersey school districts face in sharing services:
“Shared services and joint purchasing agreements have been long proven to be effective ways to help control certain costs in our public schools. The Legislature should take a serious look at the recommendations in the IELP’s report and work quickly to eliminate whatever roadblocks school districts face in sharing services.
“But while shared services can play a vital role in reducing the cost of public education in New Jersey, they are not nearly enough to overcome our school funding crisis. We need dramatic and widespread change in our public schools in order to make them more affordable to the taxpayers of New Jersey.
“Middle class districts can no longer afford the skyrocketing property taxes they’ve seen due to clearly inadequate funding over the past seven years.
“We need a new school funding formula that distributes school aid fairly, according to our kids’ needs, not their ZIP codes.
“More state funds alone will not make our schools better. We need increased efficiencies in every aspect of educational spending so that school funds get directly to kids in their classrooms. In that vein, we need to seriously consider a school district consolidation plan.”