On Tuesday, June 12, at 7 pm, the Bloomfield Board of Education and Save our Schools NJ will co-host an “Education Town Hall and Panel Discussion” to explore how the proposed state budget and other education initiatives put forth by the Governor will impact New Jersey’s public schools. Four legislators–Senator Ronald Rice and Assembly Members Ralph Caputo, Mila Jasey and Cleo Tucker–will be on hand at Bloomfield High School to examine questions related to the persistent underfunding of our public schools, potential loss of local control and other deliberations in Trenton, as well as how those in attendance can help to shape the process.
Though these legislators do not cover your district, the subject of persistent state underfunding is relevant to ALL schools and the legislators will be discussing state-wide impacts, not just Bloomfield’s. Districts have not yet recovered from the $820 million in funding that Governor Christie cut from public schools in 2010, and it is very important people understand what Trenton has in store of for our schools over the next five years.
While the proposed budget slightly increases the base amount of per-pupil spending across the state, it reduces funding to districts that serve a substantial number of poor students (17% of Montclair students are eligible for free or reduced lunch) and students with limited English proficiency. Districts that dip below a 96% attendance rate will also see a cut in funding. There is no question that continuing insufficient state aid for public schools will result in program and staff cut backs and higher property taxes.
According to New Jersey’s Office of Legislative Services, Montclair schools over the past three years have been underfunded by the state by $9,669,330 and between the years 2013 and 2017, the district will fall another $8,388,558, short of the funds the state itself says the district needs to help students reach state-mandated academic standards. Meanwhile, the Governor is pushing school vouchers and privately-run virtual and brick and mortar charter schools which will further defund public schools.
NJ School Boards’ explanation of the new funding formula can be seen here.
Actual figures based on the new funding formula for Montclair and other districts statewide can be seen by opening or copy pasting this link below into your browser; these numbers are taken directly from the Governor’s proposed budget.
The agenda for Tuesday, June 12 at Bloomfield High School at 7 pm includes:
- Welcome – Bloomfield BOE
- Overview of how schools are funded and how the proposed budget and other proposed education initiatives (virtual charter schools and vouchers) would impact future funding – by Dr. Julia Sass Rubin, Save Our Schools NJ
- Nuts-and-bolts presentations by local school leaders, including Bloomfield Superintendent Jason Bing, who will describe what their programming and staffs will look like in the next few years if the proposed budget is adopted as is.
- Senator Ronald Rice and Assembly Members Ralph Caputo, Mila Jasey and Cleopatra Tucker, will provide insight on budget and other related deliberations in Trenton and how those in attendance can help to shape the process.
- A town-hall-style Q & A session for audience members moderated by Ray Pinney of the New Jersey School Boards Association
- Handouts that outline, by Essex County school district, yearly projected funding figures through 2017, based on Governor Christie’s proposed FY 2013 budget*, and provide contact information for relevant legislators to contact, including Assembly and Senate leadership.
The final vote for the budget occurs at the end of June so the time to act is now. For more information, contact Mary Shaughnessy here.