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Statement from Dr. Danielle Farrie, Education Law Center Research Director:

February 28, 2023

Education Law Center applauds Governor Murphy for the significant investment in New Jersey’s public schools in his FY24 State Budget proposal. The K-12 school aid increase keeps the state on track to fulfill the Governor’s commitment to fully funding the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) in FY25.

However, we believe adequate funding under the school aid formula should be the state’s priority, so we are concerned about the redistribution of state aid from under adequacy districts under the S2 amendments to the SFRA. School districts spending below their adequacy targets should not be forced to make cuts to essential programs and services.

ELC is also pleased the Governor continues to recognize the importance of high-quality early education with more funding for existing preschool programs and the expansion of this vital service to more communities. However, we remain concerned about the Department of Education’s ability to support preschool expansion. Successful implementation of a high-quality, mixed-delivery preschool program requires substantial oversight and assistance, and the Department does not appear to be up to the task.

ELC also welcomes funding in the Governor’s proposed budget for community schools, school-based youth services, and stabilization aid. Our schools continue to face historic challenges in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and additional resources are needed to ensure that students and educators receive the necessary supports.

As the state moves closer to finally meeting its obligations to fully fund state aid under the SFRA, we encourage the Governor to take the necessary steps to ensure that the formula is calibrated to the current needs of New Jersey students. After fifteen years, the SFRA is overdue for a rigorous assessment of whether it reflects the resources needed to meet today’s standards and aligns with new developments in the field of education practice. The Governor and Department of Education should begin this work now so that the next Educational Adequacy Report, required by 2025, fully addresses these concerns.

Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications
973-624-1815, x 240