Hoboken School funding in Jeopardy?
As we’ve already seen, just another factor that ties into our City Budget.
Story from Edlawcenter.org
FORMULA TO USE “ADEQUACY” COST WELL BELOW CURRENT LEVELS WILL DECLARE $1.4 BILLION IN ED FUNDING UNNECESSARY
SUBURBAN AND URBAN SCHOOLS FACE THREAT OF “LEVELING DOWN”
Governor Jon Corzine’s proposed school funding formula will use a per-pupil “adequacy” cost for the core curriculum that is $1,220 per pupil or 11% less than the current foundation funding level in New Jersey school districts.
Although the Governor and Education Commissioner Lucille Davy have said that final numbers are not available, they have been known for several days.
The Governor is proposing an average of $10,200 per-pupil as adequate to educate public school students under the State’s K-12 academic standards, known as the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards (NJCCS). The proposed adequacy costs are $9,500 for an elementary school student; $9,978 for a middle school student; and $11,118 for a high school student.
The proposed adequacy costs are $1,220 per pupil below the funding level for foundational education in all school districts, including low and middle-income districts. They are also $1,704 per pupil or 14% below the funding level in successful suburban school districts, known as the “I&J” districts. These districts serve as the adequacy cost benchmark for State’s urban districts under the landmark Abbott v. Burke rulings.
Here is the amount of current funding at-risk of loss under the Governor’s proposed adequacy cost:
SOURCE: New Jersey Department of Education, Office of School Funding, Advertised Revenues, FY 2007.
*Difference from the Governor’s adequacy cost of $10,200.
Read the rest after the jump.
The sharply lower adequacy cost means that school districts statewide are currently spending an estimated $1.4 billion more in funding than the Governor believes is necessary to provide the education program required under the NJCCS. The successful suburban districts have $483 million in “excess” funding under the Governor’s proposal.
The Governor’s adequacy costs are based on models developed by the NJDOE, with help of Augenblick and Palaich and Associates, a Denver-based consulting firm, over five years ago. Education stakeholders and experts criticized these costs as flawed and out-of-date when they were first released in December 2006.
Adoption of the Governor’s low adequacy cost, along with tight spending caps, would directly threaten the high quality educational programs now offered in the most successful suburban districts by rendering hundreds of millions in current spending excessive and unnecessary. It would also result in spending reductions in the Abbott districts, since the State would no longer be required to maintain “parity” in foundation funding with the suburban districts, as the Court currently requires.
The Court also requires the NJDOE to “convincingly demonstrate” that any foundation cost below parity can achieve a “substantive thorough and efficient education” in the Abbott districts; and that the difference between parity and the new cost represents “genuine inefficiencies or excesses” in the suburban districts. The NJDOE has, thus far, failed to produce “convincing” evidence to meet these constitutional tests.
The Governor has announced that his formula would “hold harmless” all districts for the first year or maybe two, so that no district would immediately lose funding. Thus, districts may not experience the full “leveling down” effect of the Governor’s low adequacy cost until 2009 or 2010, when the formula is actually implemented by the Legislature.
Urban public school advocates are concerned that the Governor’s proposed formula will be rushed through the remaining days of the lame duck session, without opportunity to examine the short-term and, more importantly, longer term impact of the proposal. These advocates, along with many other groups and some legislators, are calling on Senate President Richard Codey and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts to put the Governor’s proposal on a slower track, beyond the lame duck session, to give education stakeholders time to analyze the proposal, provide input and propose alternatives.