Outside of his Liberty House Restaurant fundraiser in the home stretch of election season, Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti broke down what actions he feels need to be taken on the state school funding formula.
“Look, at the end of the day, we do our best to serve the community and the reality is that Bayonne has been underfunded since 2008. Okay, for the last eight years under Gov. [Chris] Christie (R), Bayonne has received minimal increases, if any,” Chiaravalloti said.
“So we’ve been underfunded for a long time. I’m not sure the criticism, after being in office for a year, is completely justified, but I understand it, I respect their opinion. I know that we’re working hard, we have a proposal that calls for district’s similar to Bayonne to be treated differently.”
The Assemblyman’s remarks came after Hudson County View asked him to respond to criticisms from his opponents that he had failed to bring funding back to the 31st Legislative District during his first term.
In the midst of an event where Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) reiterated his support for the LD-31 ticket, which includes state Senator Sandra Cunningham, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight and Chiaravalloti, the incumbent delved deeper into the school funding issue.
“There are three components to the funding formula: one is what the state should be funding, the state funding level – Bayonne is at only 51 percent, so that has to be in the calculation.” Chiaravalloti continued.
“The second is with the adequacy budget: what the school system needs to actually provide adequate education – and both Bayonne and Jersey City are below 100 percent adequacy.”
Arguably the most complex aspect of the formula is the local fair share aspect component, which deals with how much the local property tax owner is contributing to their public school system.
Chiaravalloti said that in Bayonne, this number is nearly 80 percent, which is why he favors Prieto’s proposal over the one introduced by state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3).
On the subject of the Bayonne Board of Education’s ongoing budget crisis, Chiaravalloti said that a state monitor will join the school district on June 1, mainly to oversee the financials of the district.
Other dignitaries that attended the event included Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, Bayonne Council members Sharon Nadrowski, Sal Gullace and Tom Cotter, Freeholders Kenny Kopacz (D-1), Bill O’Dea (D-2), E. Junior Maldonado (D-4) and Anthony Romano (D-5), Hudson County Register Diane Coleman, HCDO Executive Director John Minella, former Bayonne Councilman Ray Greaves and Jersey City Ward A Committeewoman and Council candidate Denise Ridley, among many others.