|8-17-06 Special Education costs & Constitutional Questions re Tax Reform|
BERGEN RECORD, Special education students tax districts ..... PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY, Legislators mull property tax rates for businesses and homes
Special education students tax districts
The district plans to send 26 preschool students with language disabilities from
School districts in
"The trend is districts want to bring their children back, because of the cost," said Aaron Graham,
Those costs can run as high as $100,000 or more per student per year, especially if the out-of-district facility requires paying room and board, said several local district superintendents.
"We've slowly reduced that number," he said.
Nationwide, the number of federally supported special education students ages 3 to 21 has grown from 3.7 million to 6.7 million, between 1977 and 2005, according to the National Center of Education Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Education.In Totowa, where special education costs make up 10 percent of the school budget, several schools are trying to bring out-of-district special education students back, said Totowa Schools Superintendent Vincent Varcadipane. Within a year, the district expects to start up a program for the autistic.
"It's a real burden on the taxpayer," he said, of out-of-district costs.
The number of special education students in
"Your guess is as good as mine," he said.
The state's 31 Abbott Districts must provide free pre-school education for all students. In non-Abbott districts, including
A child undergoes a special education evaluation if a parent or teacher notices the child is having difficulty learning. A local child-study team then makes the determination.
Transferring special-ed children to an out-of-school location within the same district -- as in
The district originally planned to send the autistic group to the church. But after parents of autistic children protested the move, it was decided to instead transfer language-impaired students, said several parents of autistic students in the district. They said that autistic children in particular would have been unsettled by the move.
Legislators to mull property tax rates for businesses and homes
By TOM HESTER Jr., Associated Press Writer
Published: Thursday, August 17, 2006
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Whether businesses and homes should continue to be charged the same property tax rates will be examined Thursday by a special legislative committee looking for ways to cut the state's highest-in-the-nation property taxes.
The panel expects to hear from Rutgers University-Camden professors Robert F. Williams and F. Alan Tarr regarding a clause in the state constitution that requires all properties within a tax district by assessed and taxed the same way.
Williams also will likely address tax exemptions permitted under the constitution, which, for instance, allows breaks to farmers, veterans, seniors and those with disabilities.
No legislator has backed changing the constitutional language, but some have said it should be considered as the state debates ways to cut its heavy reliance on property taxes to fund county and municipal governments and schools.
"That uniformity clause, I think, is going to be of particular interest," said Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester.
Businesses, though, have expressed dismay that the provision is even being discussed.
"The only point of changing it is to make the system less fair to commercial and industrial taxpayers and employers," said Arthur Maurice of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, which represents 23,000 businesses.
About $20 billion in property taxes is collected per year in
Legislators have formed four special committees that have until mid-November to recommend how to decrease the reliance on the ballooning taxes. The goal is to enact reforms by the end of the year, and Gov. Jon S. Corzine wants to cut projected property tax growth by about 20 percent by 2010.
The committee scheduled to meet Thursday will analyze whether the constitution should be changed to cut property taxes. It will also determine how citizens might convene a constitutional convention to rework the state tax structure, should the Legislature fail to act.
Other panels will consider whether changes can be made to local government services, public worker benefits and school funding....
Garden State Coalition of Schools