Advocates decry administration’s school-funding formula as harmful to at-risk children

TRENTON –  A coalition representing several education reform groups called on the Christie Administration Thursday to adequately fund schools, especially ones with a high population of at-risk students.

One of the ways to adequately fund schools is to raise more revenue by putting in place the so-called millionaire’s tax, which would raise tax rates for those earning at least $400,000, said members of the Our Children Our Schools Coalition.

The group supported the Legislature’s passage of a resolution that rejected the administration’s proposal to revise the school funding formula. The group said the administration’s plan would cut funding for bilingual and poor students. Those changes were included in the Education Department’s Education Adequacy Report.  

“The changes proposed by the Christie Administration were nothing more than an attack on the state’s poorest and most at-risk students,” said Rosie Grant of the Paterson Education Fund.

The changes could mean a funding reduction of as much as $3.6 billion, they charged.

For example, the revised school funding formula could mean a $29 million cut to the Paterson school district, Grant said.

The state Legislature passed a School Funding Reform Act in 2008, but it’s never been fully funded, the advocates said.

Several Assembly Democrats, including Speaker Sheila Oliver, made brief speeches calling on the administration to properly fund school districts, especially those that are most vulnerable.

Advocates decry administration’s school-funding formula as harmful to at-risk children