State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, also a local school official, discussed the state’s school funding formula and debunked a rumor that he would be seeking the state Senate presidency in an interview with Hudson County View.
“One little thought on the school funding formula: we were flatlined again in the budget. So, flatlined means you lost aid: just the cost of living goes up so you’ve lost,” Sacco said during last night’s board of education meeting.
According to figures released by the state Department of Education, the North Bergen Public School district, grades K through 12, received $57,095,133 in total state aid for the 2017-2018 scholastic year – the same number as the 2015-2016 scholastic year.
“And they’re talking about a plan between the governor, the Assembly speaker and the Senate president and my belief is that we should wait for the new governor whose already agreed to the formula we had under [Gov.] Jon Corzine (D) where money follows the child.”
Sacco also called the old plan, where money “follows” underprivileged students, “constitutionally sound,” though even if former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy becomes governor, he stressed that results wouldn’t happen overnight.
Murphy, who has the full support of Sacco and the rest of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, said during a North Bergen Town Hall in January that the old school funding formula was a “sensible” one that just needed to be executed properly.
Speaking one-on-one with Hudson County View, Sacco, also the North Bergen director of secondary and elementary education, explained the money follows the child formula in more detail.
“It got rid of all the Abbotts [school districts], where they just received a blank amount of money, it would be wherever a child who was poor or in need exists: that’s where the money would go,” Sacco said.
“And North Bergen did very well in that formula. In fact, right now, we’re receiving about $39 million less than we should’ve been receiving. But under the Corzine administration, we began to receive a set amount of money every year, like it might have been a $2 million increase because we moved up – you couldn’t afford to fund it completely.”
The school funding formula has been a year-long debate, with NAACP officials worrying that Corzine’s School Funding Reform Act could create racial inequality (h/t The Star-Ledger).
More recently, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) have been at odds over how to move forward on the subject, with Sweeney penning a scathing letter to Fulop last month.
Finally, Sacco shot down rumors that he would pursue the Senate presidency in 2018 (he seeks re-election in the Senate this year).
“I have no idea. People just throw names out,” he began.
“I’ve been around a long time, whoever, the thought that I was gonna go back and forth to Trenton five to seven days a week and spend all my days attending fundraisers … they’re thinking of a Nick Sacco that maybe existed a long, long time ago – not the one here now.”