Clinton Twp. Versus Asbury Park: Doherty Locks Horns with Repollet on School Funding
TRENTON – At today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, state Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) pursued Department of Education Commissioner nominee Lamont Repollet on the subject of school funding equity, using a town in his district compared to Asbury Park as a way to make his argument.
“Clinton Twp. pays six times as much per person as Asbury Park,” said Doherty, choosing the municipality where Repollet served as superintendent. “They get 17 times less per student.
“The idea seems to be ‘if we just put more money into this vessel, it’s going to work better.’ The formula we’re using now allows corruption to creep in,” the senator added.
Is that fair?
“It’s not for me to decide,” Repollet said. “It’s the state law.”
Doherty slapped at him, pointing out that as commissioner of education he should have an opinion on the subject and not simply acquiesce to the role of offering a rubber stamp.
“Our district is guided by the School Funding Formula of 2008,” Repollet said.
“You need to be a driver on this,” Doherty said. “I hate corruption.”
“We need to look at modernizing the formula,” the nominee admitted.
“Amen to that,” the senator said.
Click here for the full Insider Index
We have both a moral and a constitutional obligation to properly fund the Public Schools that are accountable to the communities served. The problem in Asbury Park is its 20.4% owner-occupied housing rate (https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/asburyparkcitynewjersey/HSG445216#viewtop). Assume that local ownership in commercial property is even worse. It is not worth continuing to make the responsible investment that needs to be made year-over-year, if the benefit continues to flow straight out of the community to the corporate overlords. Asbury Park needs a restructuring with accountable local banking, credit, and development. If we get the model right, it can similarly be applied and play out in Senator Doherty’s district and across The Garden State. Welcome a broad sense of Liberty and Prosperity.