Education Committee Chair Ruiz Hopeful for Consensus on Schools Funding

NEWARK – The sparks flying off the blur of Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) in their fight over a schools funding formula won’t ultimately impede state lawmakers’ ability to hammer out a compromise, according to state Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29).

Ruiz chairs the Senate Education Committee and took time to speak with InsiderNJ today immediately prior to a press conference on public transportation.

“The one thing that remains constant during this budget hearing was school districts were out there in full force asking for something to be done about the schools funding formula,” the senator told InsiderNJ, referring to a budget hearing last week down in south Jersey at Rowan University.

“As part of the task force initiative with the senate president and co-prime sponsor I am eager to come up with a consensus,” Ruiz added. “We know that the schools funding formula as it’s been looked at by the courts is one that works, and that is fair and equitable. We just have to make sure that we run it, and that we run it the way it was intended by removing the variables that were in there that were supposed to sunset. We also need to do that responsibly so that no child gets hurt. I also think that’s the long term plan.

“There’s been a lot of discussion that’s been happening among leadership and I’m hoping by the end of June that we have something that brings extra funding into the classrooms in New Jersey,” Ruiz said. “I have to remain hopeful for the children of the State of New Jersey.”

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