TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, New Jersey’s leading education advocate and Chair of the Senate Education Committee, released the following statement today regarding the need for a new school funding plan, after today’s Garden State Coalition of Schools news conference, which focused on the need for a new funding formula:
“The creation of an equitable funding formula, one that provides a fair system for all students, regardless of family income or location is absolutely necessary. The current formula that the State uses when distributing educational funding hasn’t been updated in nearly seven years, and it does not accurately reflect the amount of financial support needed for districts that have experienced significant enrollment growth and increased numbers of special needs students. These outdated formulas are the main cause of ever-increasing property taxes.
“It is time for New Jersey to provide categorical educational support for all students, regardless of income or educational level. The funding system has to be fair for all students, which means that the new formula must ensure that the funding follows students. Special education budgets must also be more fully funded. Our special needs students deserve the best possible educational opportunities available, and by providing increased funding, the State would be providing these students with the training they need to become self-sufficient, productive members of society.
“The new formula must also call upon increased responsibility for the State’s Abbott districts. I am most definitely in favor of providing increased funding for students in low income districts, but all school districts must be more accountable for how the funding is used.
“The formula is long over-due, and I look forward to working with Governor Corzine and the State Department of Education to take the necessary steps to ensure that New Jersey remains an educational leader for years to come.”