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Email: gscschools@gmail.com
Phone: 609-394-2828 (office)
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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

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1-2-07 GSCS New Year's Resolution
GSCS continues to be concerned with the lack of open public discussion, combined with Statehouse confusion over the 'what's and how-to's, regarding legislation that is being proposed and voted on without even going through the normal standing committee review. Trenton has backed itself into a corner, rather frantically addressing property tax issues that the legislature placed on the back burner for too long... Yet, while the public has been put on hold for too long, it is also responsible to take the time to scrutinize questions that will transform public policy: GSCS asks Trenton to slow down its unprecedented fastrack process and make sure to get the job done right. The New Jersey Assembly is meeting Thursday Jan. 4th to caucus, with its focus on property tax reform legislation. Both houses have scheduled voting sessions for January 8th, and the Governor is scheduled to give his State of the State message on Tuesday Jan. 9th. Expect bills to emerge re: the Special Session on Property Tax relief and reform. GSCS Resolution for Public Schools (1-2-06) on ‘School Funding, Community Roles, Organization and Structure’ follows:

WHEREAS GSCS represents over 110 achieving, responsible, and very strong public school districts that spend both their human and fiscal resources prudently, with the well-being of students and community as their highest priority;

WHEREAS GSCS districts and like districts, by state policy and by state legislative and executive branch decisions, have been required are required to support their public schools approximately 90-95% via local property taxes for a number of years now;

WHEREAS statewide statistics are now showing that the property tax burden is increasing more on mid-to-upper-middle income families in New Jersey;

WHEREAS in the recent past state policies have required cuts to public school districts where cuts have been primarily focused on school administration. Further, "hard caps" that do not take costs over which schools have no control into consideration, will impact classroom and education programs alike;

BE IT RESOLVED THAT GSCS requests the legislature and Governor Corzine - when proposing legislation that impacts New Jersey public education - to consider the not only the fiscal, but also the educational and community well-being of all its districts and its public school students. In so doing, state leadership should devise policies that assure that:

1) all districts stay tied to state policies as demonstrated by a stable and realistic state aid floor that supports all children, no matter where they live,

2) all districts continue to receive special education aid as a categorical aid, distributed per the individual student’s need, no matter where they live,

3) all districts be allowed a requisite flexibility in their budgeting process that allows for unanticipated needs and cost drivers beyond local control, and

4) all districts and communities continue to take the lead in and have an active voice and choice in the nature, structure and program delivery of their district's design and system of their individual public schools and their community's children.

Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608