Updated - New Jersey Schools: Rich, Poor, Unequal
Back in 1990, the group said there should be uniform spending per student across the state with little, if any leeway for local districts to spend more. The group’s plan back then was for an equalized per-pupil rate with local districts allowed to spend only 5 percent more per child. The New York Times had the story - New Jersey Schools: Rich, Poor, Unequal:
Marilyn J. Morheuser, head of the Education Law Center and its chief lawyer in the current court fight, says a uniform per-pupil spending level could require a handful of high-spending suburban districts to reduce programs or staff to get within a proscribed level.Back in 1990, the ELC’s example of an overspending school district was Millburn, at $6,247 per student. The state’s average was $5,200 and a poor Abbott school district was spending only $4,867 per child.
Under her plan, 95 percent of all educational spending would fall within the equalized per-pupil rate and local districts could spend only 5 percent more per child.
"If there is any local leeway, it would be very narrow," Ms. Morheuser said.
By 2005, the state’s average cost per student was $13,800 and the Education Law Center was still complaining and suing for more funding for Abbott school districts. Millburn was spending $13,977 per student and the Abbott schools districts of Newark, Asbury Park and Hoboken were spending $22,829, $23,572 and $22,221 respectively. That’s 63 percent, 69 percent and 59 percent more per student than Millburn.
What happened to the ELC plan calling for uniform per-pupil spending with a 5 percent leeway?