New Jersey Senate approves bill to create school funding task force

(The Center Square) – The New Jersey Senate has approved a bipartisan bill to examine the state’s education funding.

S-354 would create the School Funding Formula Evaluation Task Force to study and potentially recommend updates to the School Funding Reform Act of 2008.

“The state’s dubious funding formula controls the purse strings for school aid,” state Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho, R-Sussex, said in a statement. “The task force’s evaluation will help identify flaws and inconsistencies that contribute to funding imbalances. This will be an important step in improving the way taxpayer money is expended for education.”

The task force will explore how school district adequacy budgets and local shares are determined. It will also evaluate special education aid and the weights applied to students, such as at-risk and limited English students.

“We need to make sure that New Jersey’s schools are the best in the nation, and that our system of school funding is equitable and affordable,” state Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, said in a statement.

“The School Funding Reform Act requires the formula to be evaluated every three years, but only certain provisions are considered,” Gopal, chair of the Senate Education Committee, added. “This legislation would require a fundamental reassessment of the funding formula to determine whether it still reflects the true cost of education in New Jersey.”

The state Senate voted 34-0 to approve the measure.