Formula4Success sees support in county

RAHWAY, NJ — Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman released a video in support of Formula4Success on July 27. Steinman explains why he supports the school funding plan proposed by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Education Committee Chair M. Teresa Ruiz. The bill would bring all of New Jersey’s school districts to full funding within five years.

“I’m in favor of this legislation because, here in Union County, every single school district is underfunded,” Steinman stated.

The legislation includes a four-member panel of experts who will create a plan, factoring in a wide array of criteria, to return full funding to every New Jersey school district within five years. This would close the gap that leaves 80 percent of districts underfunded.

“The state has failed to fund the formula or to keep up with the needs of the individual school districts,” said Sweeney in a recent press release. “This has resulted in disparities and funding shortfalls for rural, suburban and urban communities throughout New Jersey. For fast-growing communities, this underfunding shortchanges the schools and puts upward pressure on local property taxes. We need to act to remedy this problem by fully funding the school aid formula.”

Under the Senate legislation, the four-member State School Funding Fairness Commission would put their plan into legislation that will have to be approved or rejected in its existing form with up-or-down votes by the Legislature. Sweeney said he expected the plan to include increased state funding of as much as $100 million annually over the five-year timeframe. There is an ongoing schedule of meetings and discussions Sweeney and other legislators have had with city and school officials in different communities to discuss the funding problems and the value of the reform plan.

“This is a plan that aims to bring equal opportunity for all of New Jersey’s school children,” said Sweeney in a recent press release. “We want every school district to have the support needed to provide a quality education for all students throughout the state. This is about equity that accounts for the very real differences between what children in different areas experience so that our school children are provided the knowledge and the tools needed to succeed in today’s economy.”

“This will be an ongoing fight to move forward on a plan to reform school funding in New Jersey in a way that improves all the school in the state and provides equal education opportunities to each and every student,” Sweeney added to the press release. “This is a fight for the future of our children that will help shape the type of state we want to have.”

“As a former Board of Education member, I’m aware that school districts are underfunded,” Rahway Council Member James Baker told LocalSource. “There should be some degree of fairness. Full funding for the city of Rahway can only be a positive thing that would expand curriculum, improve facilities and provide more educational opportunities.”

Rahway Business Administrator Cherron Rountree and Mayor Samson Steinman were unavailable for comment when contacted by LocalSource. Rahway Council Member Joanna Miles declined the opportunity to comment when contacted by LocalSource. Linden Mayor Derek Armstead was unavailable for comment when contacted by LocalSource.