Issues Long Overdue Educational Adequacy Report
NJ Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf has sent the long overdue Educational Adequacy Report to Governor Chris Christie, recommending adjustments to the weights, cost and aid amounts in the State school funding formula, the School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA).
The SFRA is New Jersey’s ground-breaking school funding formula, enacted with bi-partisan support in the Legislature in 2008, and endorsed by the NJ Supreme Court in the landmark Abbott v. Burke education equity case.
The SFRA formula is considered by experts and educators to be the nation’s strongest in its determinations of public school funding based on extensive evaluation of the cost of delivering the State’s rigorous academic standards to all students, especially at-risk (low-income) students wherever they reside.
From a preliminary review of the Report, it appears that Commissioner Cerf is again recommending that the funding provided to at-risk students and English language learners be sharply reduced based on an arbitrary reduction in the cost or “weights” in the SFRA for those students. Commissioner Cerf initially recommended this change in early 2012, but it was soundly rejected by the Legislature in the FY13 State Budget.
Once the Legislature receives the Report, it has 90 days to reject some or all of the Commissioner’s recommendations.
ELC is carefully reviewing the full Report and will provide an in-depth analysis for parents, advocates and legislators. ELC will work with stakeholders to urge the Legislature to reject any arbitrary funding cut in the SFRA formula.
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