I want to commend Governor Christie for his common sense proposal to bring equity and fairness to the school funding formula in New Jersey.
For far too long, suburban taxpayers have had to carry the enormous burden of subsidizing both suburban and urban school systems in this state. The outrageous inequity in a system that gives nearly 60 percent of state aid to 31 districts, with the remaining 40 percent split between almost 600 districts has resulted in New Jersey’s highest in the nation property taxes.
To make matters worse, the additional spending in those 31 districts has not translated into better results. For example, Middletown Township spends $18,000 per student and has a 94 percent graduation rate. Conversely, Asbury Park spends $33,000 per student and has a graduation rate of 50 percent.
Clearly, there are other issues that need to be addressed in Asbury Park and other similar districts that will not be resolved by more and more spending. If Governor Christie is successful in his quest for fairness and equity in the school funding formula, it will mean real tangible property tax relief for the people of New Jersey, where education often constitutes two-thirds or more of the average property tax bill.
Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger