Christie proposes $7.8 billion in K-12 formula aid

Gov. Chris Christie today released aid figures for New Jersey school districts based on the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget proposal, including $7.8 billion in K-12 formula aid, an increase of $135 million over last year and part of $213 million in additional state funding for education over Fiscal Year 2012.

The Department of Education also made public the “Education Funding Report,” which outlines measures Christie said would help close the state’s achievement gap – including turning around failing schools and ensuring that every child has an effective teacher in the classroom.

“Since taking office, one of my greatest priorities has been working to ensure that every child in the state receives a high-quality education that will prepare them for the demands of the 21st century,” said Christie. “In addition to increasing overall spending on education to the highest levels in state history, we can and will go further to implement common sense ways that will make every education dollar count. If we truly want to ensure that all students, regardless of zip code, graduate from high school ready for college and career, the money needs to follow the child.”

As part of this year’s state education funding the governor has proposed three changes to the aid formula.  First, the state will go from a “single day” count to determine enrollment to an average daily attendance model, which Acting Commissioner of Education Christopher Cerf said would give schools incentives to keep attendance as high as possible.

Second, the administration is proposing changes to the awarding of adjustment aid, with an eye toward phasing it out by 2017.  Adjustment Aid was designed to ensure that no district lost aid when the state transitioned to its new funding formula, but it quickly became “a paean to the longstanding tradition of refusing to make hard choices even when hard choices are in order and failing to make hard choices will cost taxpayers greatly,” according to the report.

Third, the governor has proposed changing the “weight” given to lower-income students, in effect lowering the amount of aid awarded to poorer districts.  That change has resulted in a drop in funding for the state’s 31 “Abbott Districts” and other lower-income districts.

The findings of the “Education Funding Report” prepared by Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf can be found at https://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/report.pdf

Christie proposes $7.8 billion in K-12 formula aid