In a letter to the editor, West New York Board of Education Trustee Steven Rodas says Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed school funding formula “will recklessly redistribute aid.”
Governor Chris Christie’s recent attack on teachers unions during his latest “fairness forum” shows that this will be a leading initiative of his moving forward.
As an elected official of the West New York Board of Education, the best interests of the students and professional staff members of our school district are my primary concern.
Governor Christie’s School “Fairness” Formula will recklessly redistribute aid from low-income urban districts to wealthier communities. Certainly, this is unjust and unreasonable to our school district and others.
Presently, our school district’s per pupil allocation is $12,123.47. Governor Christie’s flat rate proposal would slash student allotment by 46%, or $5,524.47, down to just $6,599.
How will a 46% reduction affect our school district?
• After-school programs will be eliminated.
• Teacher salaries will be cut or become stagnant.
• Teaching positions will be consolidated or eliminated.
• Classrooms will become overcrowded.
• Resources to help disadvantaged students that don’t speak the English language will be eliminated.
• Much needed school facility improvement projects will be delayed or eliminated.
The list continues, and none of it is positive.
Governor Christie’s “one size fits all” approach fails to grasp a fundamental concept in education: every student is unique. Every classroom, school and school district is unique.
The governor’s proposal contradicts our current formula that allocates aid based on student need, creating an equal education and learning environment for disadvantaged students.
He fails to take into account the daily challenges students and teachers face in urban environments.
Property tax relief for suburban communities is not enough of a reason to disrupt and potentially destroy the education funding system already in place.
Governor Christie’s flat rate discriminates against minorities, is unfair towards hard working low-income families and will create greater disparity among poor urban and wealthy suburban families.
It is imperative that we urge Govern Christie to focus on fully funding our schools and our pensions, stop scapegoating our teachers, and execute our nations longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students.
Disclaimer: These opinions are solely my own and are not the opinions of the West New York Board of Education, its trustees or any employees or contractors.