As Governor Christie’s June eighth deadline got here and went, the Meeting as soon as once more failed the kids of our state by ignoring a very powerful difficulty earlier than us — resolving the varsity funding disaster that’s plaguing our taxpayers statewide.
The Faculty Funding Reform Act of 2008 is lauded as the very best faculty funding design within the nation, however the Legislature didn’t take away the adjustment support and progress caps as initially meant. I’m dismayed that Meeting Speaker Vincent Prieto failed to contemplate testimony after testimony heard at every schooling committee held all through New Jersey.
Whereas everybody has gathered across the desk in an try to collectively formulate a consensus that greatest serves us all, Speaker Prieto has turned a deaf ear to the rising refrain of New Jersey taxpayers pleading for change. As a substitute of participating in dialog, he has silenced these voices that decision for an equitable resolution. All of this to learn rich actual property builders in overfunded municipalities, resembling Jersey Metropolis, who reap the benefits of state applications with a view to line their pockets with taxpayer cash.
The speaker has proposed that we disburse a one-time unfunded $125 million support bundle for one 12 months to our state’s most underfunded faculty districts. Sadly, his plan lacks the thoroughness of a good formulation, and subsequently fails to handle the continuing disaster.
The plan locations a Band-Help over an open wound for districts-in-need. Cities inside the speaker’s dwelling district of Hudson County proceed utilizing loopholes to tear off the state and underfunded districts. Cities resembling Jersey Metropolis and Hoboken obtain 100 p.c of state funding for pre-Okay from the state, whereas nearly all of the state’s taxpayers relentlessly wrestle to pay out of pocket for early childhood care bills.
It’s really a tragedy that rich residents are reaping the advantages of extraordinarily low taxes attributable to fee in lieu of tax (PILOT) applications in Jersey Metropolis, whereas faculty districts in municipalities like Monroe Township of Middlesex County proceed endure.
In contrast, Senate President Steve Sweeney’s faculty funding formulation has obtained bipartisan help. We have to acknowledge that we can’t adequately handle property taxes (one other disaster) with out first fixing our state’s faculty funding dilemma.
Speaker Prieto has been unwilling to permit a dialogue of the Senate president’s faculty funding formulation within the Meeting Chamber. This shouldn’t be a few legislative chief’s incapacity to get alongside nor ought to it come all the way down to a 100-day deadline imposed by the governor. The underside line is that essentially the most supported and viable invoice has sat on the speaker’s desk for months. As a substitute of permitting a dialogue amongst his members, he provides a last-minute proposal that doesn’t adequately handle this difficulty.
As a member of the Schooling Committee, I’m annoyed that the speaker has failed to permit my committee to listen to Senate President Sweeney’s proposal to finish the varsity funding disaster. The governor’s deadline handed and the Common Meeting – The Folks’s Chamber – has merely didn’t act.
Patricia Egan Jones, a Democrat, represents the fifth Legislative District within the Meeting.
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