Real Property Tax Relief Can’t Be Accomplished Without Fixing Abbott School Funding
This latest recommendation is just the beginning. Back in February the task force suggested an additional $29.2 billion be spent for Abbott school construction over the next ten years. This is an incredible sum considering the Abbott districts comprise only 22 percent of the state’s public school students.
The state’s Abbott school construction program has been a boondoggle from day one. An analysis by the Star-Ledger showed the state spent an average of 45 percent more to build schools in the Abbott districts than did local boards of education throughout the rest of the state.
An audit report by State Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper concluded New Jersey’s school construction program was a textbook case of “mismanagement, fiscal malfeasance, conflicts of interest and waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Those words fairly sum up New Jersey’s 30 year Abbott school experiment. Billion upon billions of taxpayer dollars have been poured into these schools with little to no improvement to show for the investment. The original $6 billion allocated for Abbott school construction was blown through with less than one-half the scheduled projects completed.
New Jersey’s Abbott school districts now spend 30 percent more per student as compared to the state’s average and receive 55 percent of all state property tax relief for schools. State school construction funding is even more lopsided with 70 percent of state resources being spent on the Abbott districts.
If the politicians in Trenton are serious about reducing New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes then they will need to seriously address the over-allocation of tax dollars to the Abbott districts. Every child deserves a quality education, but it shouldn’t be necessary to bankrupt the state and its property taxpayers in order to accomplish the goal.
Bob at eCache has more