Streams

Disagreement Over Corzine's School Plan

Friday, January 04, 2008

REPORTER: Governor Corzine's proposal to change the way the state funds public schools is causing some serious anxiety for New Jersey's 31 poorest school districts.

Those are known as Abbott districts and they currently special funding from the state.

Corzine's plan would increase aid to all state schools by 2%, but funding would fluctuate according to enrollment and the number of low-income students in a district, whether they're in the inner-city, the suburbs or in a rural area.

Jon Shure, of the non-partisan group New Jersey Political Perspectives, says the governor's plan takes into account the economic changes in the state's poor districts.

SHURE: Some of the Abbott districts actually have more property wealth than they had 10 or 20 years ago. And they have had some businesses coming in and they do have the ability to raise money for education beyond what they had before.

REPORTER: But the Superintendent of Newark's schools, Marion Bolden, says that's not the case in her district.

BOLDEN: I've heard people say, "pay for your own kids." Well, if our tax base doesn't allow for that the court has said it is the responsibility of the state of New Jersey to wipe out disadvantages as much as a school district can. So am I to apologize for that?

REPORTER: Following a heated debate last night, a New Jersey Assembly committee approved the funding plan. This advances the proposal toward a vote by the full Legislature on Monday.

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