Steve Adubato Looks at Modernizing the Garden State’s School Funding Formula with Senator Gopal

Steve Adubato asks Sen. Gopal about the issues surrounding the school funding formula and what needs to be done to address it.

Sen. Gopal responds, “I think we need more clarity on this funding formula. It was put out in 2008 and it has not been modernized since then. We have had a lot of changes. Mental health and special education are a big driving factor. In Long Branch, they lost $10 million this year. They lost the most money of anywhere. Last year they gained 600,000 so that’s a $10.6 million swing in one year. They have about three weeks to put together a budget for cutting $10 million. This is a district that’s almost 70% free and reduced lunch.”

(Visited 488 times, 1 visits today)

4 responses to “Steve Adubato Looks at Modernizing the Garden State’s School Funding Formula with Senator Gopal”

  1. New Jersey has several school issues to tackle or push under the rug for another 8 years. The school funding formula is a 15 year complex mess that many prominent legislators admit they do not understand. Devastating learning loss due to unnecessarily longest in the nation school closure during the pandemic which some of the same prominent legislators admit a large number of students will never catch up and as legislators, they did not have a sense of urgency to address the problem. They just handed these students a life sentence. New Jersey is the sixth most segregated school system in the nation. New Jersey has a large learning gap between social-economic groups and communities. New Jersey students are locked in poor or failing school districts with no way out, due to a zip code. These schools are not part of the BIA mantra. The NJEA founded a nonprofit using union member dues, named “Protecting Democracy” for its Presidents political war. Most union dues go to political action groups or causes, with over 95 percent going to a Democrat. A ton of money.
    Red Bank, also lost a tremendous amount of school funding and has a majority low income demographic and also has a Charter School to include in its budget. More than 30 years ago, the solution recommended was regionalization instead of a Charter School. But, that word (regionalization) in New Jersey is considered political suicide. This is absolutely a political issue!

  2. Senator Gopal had no problems, all these years, when the gravy train kept flowing, to the Long Branch Board of Education, from Trenton. Now, all of a sudden, with a $10,000,000 cut, in the Long Branch Board of Education Budget, he suddenly becomes alarmed.
    Senator Gopal fails to mention,that the $10,000,000 loss, in State Aid, this year, is simply a return to pre-pandemic levels.
    Perhaps Senator Gopal should have been listening to me, all along, as I appeared before both the Long Branch City Council and the Long Branch Board of Education, for the past 6 years, warning of the resultant devastation, of Long Branch’s developer tax abatements and exemptions. Even at the 6/26/24 Long Branch City Council Meeting, the City Council adopted a Budget, with a line item titled, “TAX ABATED PILOT FIGURE”, in the amount of $3,071,946. That line item equated to a loss, to the Long Branch Board of Education, in 2023, of $1,382,375.
    What makes matters worse, is Long Branch’s abusive under assessment and omision of tax abated properties, particularly Kushner Co’s. 30 year tax abated 40,000 sq ft of Pier Village 3 Retail, assessed at $20,000.
    And, Senator Gopal had failed, to hold Kushner Co’s. accountable, for three (3) years worth of full tax revenue, owed by Kushner Co’s., for failing to comply with Long Branch’s Financial Agreement, to provide Annual Audits, so as to determine if the profit/loss calculations are being complied with.
    Senator Gopal will not go after the just mentioned money, because he was in the lead, cheering on Kushner Co’s. Monmouth Mall Groundbreaking, with yet another 30 year tax abatement, that guts revenue to the Eatontown Board of Education, which is also in his District.
    I could further continue, but the bottom line is that Senator Gopal is just as guilty, as the City of Long Branch’s Mayor, Council and Board of Education, for this Long Branch catastrophe.

  3. Anyone that watched Steve Adubato’ conversation with Monmouth County State Senator Vin Gopal saw first hand why the debate surrounding public school funding in the Garden State won’t be dealt with anytime soon. Senator Gopal’ solution is to assemble yet another blue ribbon bi-partisan panel to address the funding formula. But as a comment just published alluded to, an easy first step would be to drastically reign in the exploding proliferation of P.I.L.O.T. abated property tax schemes which are decimating legacy School tax collection methodology. These P.I.L.O.T. Abatement schemes shift new tax revenues arising from development at P.I.L.O.T. properties, that traditionally are apportioned between Municipal use, School Board use and County use, to an unfair 95% share for Municipal purposes and a 5% share for County purposes. Other than nominal taxes from prior existing land assessments at P.I.L.O.T. properties, that are more often than not unfairly under assessed, local School Boards are zeroed out on any new taxes arising from new improvements at P.I.L.O.T. development sites. These tax schemes effectively shift future local school funding needs from the abated property owners onto the backs of all other non abated property owners. Sadly these abatement schemes are spreading north to south across the State. Leaving School Boards across the State to make draconian cuts to vital programs and personel; all due to the short sightedness of their elected representatives in Trenton. The P.I.L.O.T. program began as a well meaning attempt in the early 1970s to jump start redevelopment in areas that suffered through rioting that swept New Jersey in the late 1960s, and, which lasted into 1972. Unfortunately the P.I.L.O.T.s have now been hijacked by developer friendly lawyer/politicians in Trenton who are directly benefitting from the legislation. Until the New Jersey Legislature addresses the perverse use of the P.I.L.O.T. laws, and the damage being done to local School funding, little will change. And with a current lame duck Governor unwilling to wade into the debate I don’t hold out any hope for change until after the next election.

  4. EDIT.. “Protecting Our Democracy”
    In previous interviews, prominent legislature admit to not understanding the school funding formula and all its loopholes. Perhaps that is by design. Why not enrich the developers on the back of children? You know you are in trouble when those in charge form a Blue Ribbon Task Force. A lot of talk that will go nowhere because the task force will be dissembled, as fast as it was created before its’ members are finished. Just like the “all hands on deck” task force for the unprecedented learning loss due to school closures or the teacher shortage task force.
    I don’t know if our legislators are incompetent or uninformed, but they must practice what they preach and like a good student-Do your homework!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News From Around the Web

The Political Landscape