Pilot program to lengthen school day slated for hearing

TRENTON – The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to take up a bill Monday that would lengthen the school day in some districts.

The bill, S2087, would set up a pilot program over three years to study the effects of a longer school day on academic performance.

A district that wants to participate would apply to the Department of Education. The commissioner of Education could select up to 25 districts to participate.

As an incentive, tax credits would be offered to corporations that contribute funding to support the pilot effort’s costs.

The total tax credits would be capped at $24 million in year one, $48 million in year two, and $72 million in year three.

In a revenue estimate that accompanies the Assembly version – A1391 – that was introduced in January,  the Executive branch and the Office of Legislative Services agree that the state coffers would suffer a loss under this bill, but disagree on exactly how severely it would kick in and when.

The administration estimates the following fiscal impact on state revenues: year 1, nothing; year 2, $18 million; year 3, $42 million; year 4, $66 million; and year 5, $18 million.

OLS estimates that the state revenues would be affected more quickly: year 1, $24 million; year 2, $48 million; and year 3, $72 million.

The administration’s analysis assumes that the corporate business tax will be reduced by 75 percent of the total amount of tax credits that are claimed, and that assumption is based on anticipated delays due to filing requirements.