RBR SUPER: NEW FUNDING HELPS, BUT…
Red Bank Regional High School will get a $30,000 bump in state aid under the new funding formula announced by Gov. Jon Corzine today.
At about two percent, the increase is the minimum amount that the Corzine administration is doling out to each of the state’s 618 districts under the proposal, the Star-Leder reports.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Superintendent Ed Westervelt. But it still leaves schools far too reliant on local property taxes, and shortchanges districts such as RBR on special education funding, he said.
“I’m concerned that it ties special ed funding to the wealth of the community” rather than designating a fixed amount of money per special ed student throughout the state, Westervelt said.
Wealthier districts have to carry more of the special ed costs directly, under the plan.
The wealth-based calculation means that RBR, where about 12 percent of the students are in the special ed category, gets penalized by the higher wealth of sending districts Little Silver and Shrewsbury, though many students are from lower-wealth Red Bank, Westervelt said.
Data released today by the Corzine administration shows that RBR’s total state funding allotment would rise to $1.552 million, or $1,784 per student. Westervelt said he had not yet seen the details on the special ed funding.
Only about nine percent of the district’s budget will be covered by state funds. Westervelt said that when he last taught in Pearl River, N.Y. 14 years ago, the state was picking up 26 percent of school funding costs, and pushing for more.