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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tue, Oct 12, 2010

School Funding More "Fair" in NJ Than in New York

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By Beth Fertig

New Jersey ranks second in the nation when it comes to equitably funding its public schools, according to a new report card.

Researchers at Rutgers University and the Education Law Center in Newark found the state did a good job of giving more money to poor districts, after a lawsuit was settled in the late 1990s. They gave the state an A.

That's a big contrast to what happened in New York says Geri Palast, executive director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which brought a similar lawsuit here. "In New York, which ranks 46th in the nation, poor children are only getting 82 percent of what the rich kids are getting," she says. New York got a D on the new report card.

The data is based on 2007 funding figures, but she says things barely changed after the Campaign for Fiscal Equity won its case because budget cuts were made just as New York began adding more money to schools. The extra $5.5 billion in aid that was promised over four years was frozen and then cut, dragging it out to a ten-year plan.

Utah placed first in the national ranking of equitable school funding, which also looked at regional labor markets, student characteristics, and population density.

Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE Litigation CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >