Home About GSCS What's New Issues School Funding Coming Up
Quick Links
Meeting Schedule
NJ Legislature
Governor's Office
NJ Department of Education
State Board of Education
GSCS Testimonies
GSCS Data & Charts
Contact Us

Email: gscschools@gmail.com
Phone: 609-394-2828 (office)
             732-618-5755 (cell)

Mailing Address:
Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

Newsletters and More
Sign Up
Search
Twitter

11-16-07 Governor Corzine's remarks on school funding to League of Municipalities
"...[T]here is one big piece of unfinished business with respect to property tax relief and reform. And that's developing a fair and constitutionally appropriate school funding formula, a problem unaddressed for over a decade as well...The current method leaves too many children out of luck simply because they live in the wrong zip code. And the failure to provide sufficient state school aid has put a disproportionate property tax burden on the backs of far too many homeowners...When it comes to state support for local education, we need to consider two issues. First, what is the adequate level of resources for a child to successfully learn, prepare for college or enter the workforce? And second, what level of aid should the State provide relative to local share based on the income and wealth of the community?...Within the next few weeks, the Department of Education will present a school funding formula to the Legislature for their consideration...We will present this funding formula soon so we have enough time to debate it, enact it, and implement it for the 2008 school budgets..." For the rest of the Governor's funding comments, click on

     That said, there is one big piece of unfinished business with respect to property tax relief and reform. And that's developing a fair and constitutionally appropriate school funding formula, a problem unaddressed for over a decade as well. Today we have a court-driven, ad hoc system for allocating state aid for education. It has no rational basis of explanation.

     The current method leaves too many children out of luck simply because they live in the wrong zip code. And the failure to provide sufficient state school aid has put a disproportionate property tax burden on the backs of far too many homeowners.

     It has to change, regardless of how tough it will be. We can't fund children's education like a pork barrel program. When it comes to state support for local education, we need to consider two issues. First, what is the adequate level of resources for a child to successfully learn, prepare for college or enter the workforce? And second, what level of aid should the State provide relative to local share based on the income and wealth of the community? Every child must be given the same opportunity to succeed and the same access to a thorough and efficient education.

     Within the next few weeks, the Department of Education will present a school funding formula to the Legislature for their consideration. The essence of the plan is to allocate dollars by children and their needs, not by geography or zip codes. We will present this funding formula soon so we have enough time to debate it, enact it, and implement it for the 2008 school budgets.

     So that's it, as you can see, we have a challenging, and admittedly tough "to do" list. Year after year, fear of taking on the big financial issues has resulted in paralysis, or at best marginal reform. Sticking with the status quo has only made the problem worse. These issues are not going to fix themselves. Now is the time to act.

     We have a new legislature with more new members, and more new women I might add, than at any point in recent history. Now is the time for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to put aside party labels, keep an objective and open mind and fix what we all know is broken. But before I leave there's one other point I want to make. Let's take a step back from all the challenges in this state for a moment and recognize another overarching reality. I really feel strongly about this.

     New Jersey is one of the greatest places in this country on this globe to live, to work and to raise a family. You all work on that every day and you are part of what is a great state. I am proud of you, I'm proud of it and I know you're proud of our state, I am proud of our people and I am excited about our future. Just today, our Department of Labor reported that the state's unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent, one of the lowest in the nation and far below the national average of 4.7 percent. It's been there all year.

     New Jersey doesn't just offer good jobs, it offers great jobs, higher-paying jobs. The median income in New Jersey is as high as anywhere in America. In the past six month, New Jersey employers have added more than 20,000 new jobs and almost all of them are in the private sector. We have a competitive advantage in America's growing economic sectors: finance, logistics, gaming, tourism, medical research, and high technology.

     New Jersey offers the very best education system in the nation. Yesterday I was reading in the New York Times and they had a list of countries and states and New Jersey was right up at the top of the list for math scores for fourth grade and eighth grade across the globe, not across America.

     We're first in the country in pre-school enrollment and at the top in high school graduation rates. We have the highest percentage of people with advanced degrees in America live in this state. Private investments for large development and infrastructure projects are pouring into the state. Bill Gormley knows this, as much as $15 billion is poised to transform Atlantic City into a global tourist and resort destination.

     A multi-billion dollar facelift will recreate the Meadowlands with the help of a lot of great leadership from Governor Codey. The Port Authority is on the threshold of generational achievement the construction of a second passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson. You'll be able to take those trains from Trenton as Senator Lautenberg was talking about on Amtrak New mass transit is planned for South Jersey. And we continue to attract major private sector investments in logistics and warehousing, biotech and pharmaceutical industries. So, although we must recognize that we have fiscal challenges, we should not ignore our successes, or our strengths.

     The point is the citizens of New Jersey have every right to demand, that we public officials, put our fiscal house in order so we are partners in their success, not a burden to their future. To that end, I hope you will be prepared to join me, with an open mind and a seriousness of purpose that will enable us to take on, and overcome, these challenges. If we do, there is no question, New Jersey's best days lie ahead.

     Thank you.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828