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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says proposed school budget aims for equity among public school districts

New Jersey will fully fund public school districts under 2008 formula, gov. says
New Jersey will fully fund public school districts under 2008 formula, gov. says 02:34

PLAINFIELD, N.J. -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says for the first time in the state's history, his administration is fully funding public school districts under a formula that was created back in 2008 to make sure all students have equal access to education.

But under his proposed budget, dozens and dozens of school districts will actually see a cut in funding.

New Jersey schools rely on state funding and property taxes. It's a complicated process, and that's where CBS New York's Christine Sloan comes in to sort it out.

Murphy was at the Charles and Anna Booker Elementary School in Plainfield, named after the civil rights icons now ages 100 and 98, to celebrate his proposed school budget.

Plainfield would get an additional $30 million for students K-12.

"The prior administration underfunded school funding by $9 billion. Really did not let the funding formula work," Murphy said.

Plainfield's schools superintendent calls it the largest funding ever, allowing the district to increase teacher salaries and enhance other programs.

"Such has our pre-school programs, our programs for multilingual learners, who are large population of our student body here," Superintendent Rashon K. Hasan said.

But the governor's getting criticized by some. Under the formula, more than 140 school districts will see funding cuts.

Red Bank Borough Public Schools, with a large Latino student body, will get $1.7 million less.

"There's no question it's going to mean a reduction in staff, reduction in instructional programming, and we are going to looking at everything from top to bottom," Superintendent Jared Rumage said.

He says more than likely property taxes will go up to make up the difference.

The governor says he didn't come up with the funding formula, which is partly based on student count and a municipality's tax levy.

Murphy also says a fund is set up for struggling districts but that some may have to consolidate.

"You got three high schools, you should have two. You have five middle schools, you should have four. Those are hard discussions to have inside of a community, and I get that," he said.

Republicans say the governor should cut out pork in the budget and fund all schools equally.

"It's a very complicated formula. I can uncomplicated it. Don't cut any students whatsoever in this state if you love education," Sen. Jon Bramnick said.

Hasan says the formula's goal is equity.

"Communities that don't have large industries, that don't have large corporations or don't have a high population of homeowners," he said.

The governor says there's still wiggle room when it comes to numbers in the budget, which has to be approved by the legislature and signed by the governor by June 30.

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