Sweeney, Sarlo, Ruiz, Greenstein, Cruz-Perez, & Diegnan Pledge To ‘Get The Process Moving’ Towards Full & Equitable Funding
TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Paul Sarlo, the chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, the chair of the Senate Education Committee were joined by Senator Linda Greenstein, Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez and Senator Patrick Diegnan Jr. today pledging to include school funding reforms in the next state budget, “getting the process moving” towards full funding for all school districts, to increase support for special education and to correct the flaws in the current school aid formula that are causing the inequitable distribution of state aid.
The Democratic senators pledged to move forward with the phase-in of reforms while speaking to a rally of educators, advocates and parents before the Senate budget committee’s hearing on the Fiscal Year 2018 funding plan for the Department of Education.
“The time for talking, for false starts and for delay is over,” said Senator Sweeney (Salem/Cumberland/Gloucester). “We are moving forward with the needed reforms and we need to start now with this budget. The Senate is not going to pass a budget that fails to start to address the unfairness and inequities that are causing so much harm to so many school districts throughout the state. We know the importance of school funding, we understand the problems that need to be corrected and we have a plan that will provide solutions. We need to run it and fund it.”
“The day of reckoning has come,” said Senator Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This budget will start the process of funding the formula the right way. School districts have been ‘making do’ with inadequate funding for too long and the problems are becoming worse, with cuts in school programs, layoffs and severe fiscal strain on school budgets. We need to work towards fair funding and to fix the inequities.”
“School districts across the state are in dire financial straits as a result of years of underfunding. This has gone on for far too long. I’m pleased to stand with my colleagues in the effort to bring fairness to school funding and to make sure students have access to the high quality education they deserve,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex).
“Every child deserves to have an opportunity to succeed, and that comes through quality education,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “It is time we give schools the full funding that they are constitutionally entitled to so that we can bring fairness to all children in New Jersey. That process begins now.”
“There should be no more talking, it is time for action,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden, Gloucester). “We need to fully fund this formula so that every child has a chance to get a quality education. We are beginning that process now.”
“Education is the most important thing in our democracy,” said Senator Diegnan (Middlesex). “A quality public education prepares students to succeed, and that can only happen when we adequately fund our public schools. Bringing all districts in New Jersey to 100 percent funding needs to start now.”
Among the school districts participating in the rally of advocates pushing for reform were Kingsway, Chesterfield, Delran, Monroe, Red Bank, Newton, Freehold Boro, Rahway, Cherry Hill and Robbinsville.