Corzine’s “New Formula for Success” Is A Formula For Wasteful Spending
The additional aid cranked out by Corzine’s new formula amounts to a $2,070 increase per student for Union City - whether or not the district actually needs the extra money. As recently as 2006, the district was proud of the fact that additional state aid was unnecessary. Union City was spending far less per student than many Abbott districts and was identified by the state as a school district of excellence.
Last year, Union City was touted as a successful Abbott school district during meetings of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public School Funding Reform. Union City’s superintendent of schools, Stanley Sanger gave a presentation about his school distinct which included the following 4 key points:
1. School district's demographics – 87 percent of students are eligible for a free or reduced price lunch and 97 percent of students come from homes where the dominant language in the home is not English.
2. Student achievement - In Grades 3, 4, 8, and 11, the distinct met or exceeded the State objectives in all areas, except one, special education (achievement for disabled students)
3. Additional Funding Requirements – The district has never found it necessary to apply for additional supplemental funding through Abbott aid.
4. Holding Down Costs - In the last several years, the distinct was able to reduce non-salaried costs, between 5 and 10 percent each year.
Now Union City can go a spending spree with an extra $20.2 million dollars from state taxpayers. If lawmakers suspected patronage hiring in Union City schools was a problem last year, just wait until next year.
And just imagine what’s going on in districts that will receive state aid at the rate of $17,000, $18,000, $19,000, all the way up to $23,000, per student. Who knows what total spending per student will be when all sources of funding– federal, state and local – are added up.
To place those aid levels in perspective, keep in mind that adequate per student spending for what the state now calls “regular education students” is $9,649 for elementary school, $10,035 for middle school and $11,289 for high school. That’s adequate spending per student, not adequate state aid per pupil.
You can forget about property tax relief if Corzine’s "New Formula for Wasteful Spending" is enacted. The Governor is looking to greatly expand a failed program that has already produced the highest property taxes in the nation and nearly bankrupted the state’s treasury.