TOMS RIVER, NJ – School funding at the Jersey Shore has been a sore subject due to Governor Phil Murphy’s still-secret and proprietary school funding formula. Districts like Toms River, Brick, and others have lost millions in aid they once received under former Governor Chris Christie.
Now, Murphy’s opponent Jack Ciattarelli says he’s going to fix that. There are only two ways to accomplish that goal. Ciattarelli can either raise taxes to raise more money for school funding or take money away from districts that he feels are receiving too much school funding under Murphy’s formula.
Ciattarelli plans to restore state aid to struggling suburban, shore areas and rural schools to relieve the financial burden on local communities, He also says he will redefine “local fair share” so no community funds less than 25 percent of its school operating budget or construction costs.
Citattarelli also said he will support consolidating the state’s 565 towns and 600 plus school districts into regional and county school districts.
Restoring funding to suburban schools is something that needs to be done in New Jersey, but now Governor Phil Murphy claims Ciattarelli’s plan does nothing but take school funds from black and brown communities and sends that money to white districts.
“Earlier this week, Republican gubernatorial nominee Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli held a press conference to highlight a phony plan to lower property taxes. In reality, the Assemblyman’s harmful proposal would drag New Jersey back to the funding failures of the Christie administration and strip education aid from school districts in Black and Brown communities,” said Murphy campaign spokesperson Jerrel Harvey. “What’s worse is that Assemblyman Ciattarelli would strip funding from these districts while providing tax cuts and carveouts for the wealthy and well-connected.”
Harvey responded that when pressed for specifics, Assemblyman Ciattarelli offered nothing beyond an empty promise for “flatter, more equitable” funding, which is reminiscent of former governor Chris Christie’s “toxic plan” that was widely ridiculed as a “deeply irresponsible proposal for stripping New Jersey’s poorest communities of desperately needed education aid.”
Between reckless anti-science pandering that endangers the health of students and teachers to disastrous Christie-era school funding cuts, Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli continues to make it clear that he’s unfit to lead. In contrast, Governor Murphy has made historic investments in public education to expand opportunity, build a more competitive workforce, strengthen the middle class, and reduce the municipal share of property taxes.
“Assemblyman Ciattarelli doesn’t have any serious solutions for New Jersey,” Harvey said. “When the Assemblyman had his chance to stand up for New Jersey students and teachers, he turned his back and let things get worse under the Christie administration. Voters will back Governor Murphy’s commitment to working families, not someone who jeopardizes public education for political gain.”
Ciattarelli’s campaign has not responded to the Murphy allegation.
Photo: Jack4NJ campaign handout.