Jersey City and Hoboken briefly took center stage at last night’s gubernatorial debate between Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and challenger Jack Ciattarelli clashed over school funding towards the tail end of the hour-long affair.
“Under Governor Ciattarelli, we’ll have a new school funding formula that provides a flatter, more equitable distribution of state aid. I will not leave any student behind, I will not leave any community behind, I will not adversely affect the quality of education,” began Ciattarelli on the ABC News broadcast.
“But let me tell you something else we’re not gonna do: we’re not gonna send aid to people that own million dollar homes in places like Hoboken and Jersey City and have them pay less in property taxes than a $400,000 homeowner in Tom River, Hillsborough, and Parsippany. That’s what’s going on and he knows it.”
The incumbent, as he’s said many times during this election cycle, responded by claiming that voters will decide if they want to move this state forward or backward on November 2nd.
“You know the tragedy is the progress that we’ve made in Black and Brown communities … especially urban communities with the school funding that we have put to work has been overwhelmingly [sic]: but it’s a job that is not yet complete. There are huge inequities that this pandemic, among other things, exposed,” Murphy explained.
“That flat funding formula: we already work with Toms River and Hillsborough, but you’d crush Black and Brown communities those kids who are already behind the eight ball, you put them further back. Again, this is the difference of moving forward or slipping back to the bad old days.”
Ciattarelli shot back that it was “a lie” to suggest he’s proposed a flat funding formula, noting that the state Supreme Court would never allow such a thing, though he did not get into the particulars of what his formula would look like before the next question.
Many New Jersey reporters and pundits alike noted that this was one of the most lively gubernatorial debates in recent memory, with Murphy and Ciattarelli eager to stand and trade on various issues.