Stanfield, Torrissi and Umba call S2 rollback a good start
TRENTON– Senator Jean Stanfield, Assemblyman Michael Torrissi and Assemblyman Brandon Umba celebrated the partial rollback of S2 school funding cuts on Monday that will bring $2.735 million to the 8th District, but emphasized that the band aid won’t stop the bleeding for long.
The 8th District legislators called for an immediate, full pause of S2 cuts until a new school funding formula is installed. On Monday, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that would provide school districts losing state aid with two-thirds of the money they’re losing back.
“While I applaud the legislature and Governor for answering our calls and providing some relief to schools that have been losing aid for six straight years, we can’t roll our sleeves back down and say, job well done,” Umba said. “The major problem still exists – we need a new school funding formula.”
The school funding formula was established 15 years ago, and many critics say it has major flaws that include underfunding special education, undercounting the true value of ratables in towns and cities, and lacking in transparency due to the nature of the formula being proprietary information.
“Any school funding formula that strips districts of millions of dollars, year after year, during a time of insane inflation and following a pandemic, is clearly broken. If we don’t create a new formula by next year, we’ll be right back in the same place, working on temporary solutions,” Torrissi said.
S3732, which will provide $103 million to school districts losing funding in the 2024 budget, funds each district’s losses by 66 percent. However, next year schools will suffer the full extent of funding cuts, yet again.
“I’ve seen towns in the 8th District get absolutely hammered with funding cuts ever since S2 legislation was passed in 2018. Every year they lose hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, and have had to cut programs, fire teachers and increase class sizes. It is untenable and makes no sense in a state where Democrats increase the budget by billions of dollars every year,” Stanfield said.
The legislators are calling on the state to assemble a task force to create a new formula that can be put in place by this time next year.
“Public education is what New Jersey is known for. If we can’t put our heads together and solve this problem by next year, we have failed one of our core duties,” Umba continued.