Scroll Top

Gopal, Education Committee Hear Testimony, Discuss Schools’ State Aid Formula


Trenton – Senator Vin Gopal, Chairman of the Education Committee, issued the following statement after an extended hearing on Thursday that featured testimony from educators, experts and stakeholders regarding New Jersey’s state school aid funding formula:

“Our goal with today’s hearing was to gather feedback around how the state can revise its school funding formula. With S2’s recalibrations ending after this year, and more than a decade’s worth of data on how the formula has impacted districts, I think it’s critical we start taking steps to modernize the formula. The core of the formula established under the 2008 School Funding Reform Act has not changed since that legislation was signed into law. But the needs of New Jersey’s school districts have evolved significantly since 2008 and the formula should reflect that.

“As compelling testimony today revealed from one witness after another, we must acknowledge that the impact of the SFRA formula has been incredibly uneven among districts. While the formula stabilized many districts that have long struggled to fund their schools, it has also forced a significant portion of the state’s districts to wrestle with unsustainable fiscal volatility.

“What we heard repeatedly was the need for a more balanced formula, and one that should be more predictable and allow for greater flexibility so that districts facing significant cuts are not forced into making difficult budget decisions in regard to personnel, programs and operational systems in the final weeks of a school term — arguably one of its most hectic and stressful times of the year.

“The stakeholders we heard today remind us of the many diverse experiences they have seen under the SFRA, and I am hopeful that insights we heard today can help to guide us towards sensible revisions that preserve the formula’s successes while correcting some of its flaws.