“If we want to ensure that all students succeed, we need to start pursuing a slate of bold reforms and stop chasing the promised, but mythical, funding formula that will solve our educational woes.”
Education Funding Report, Acting Commissioner of Education Christopher Cerf
Two days after Gov. Christie presented his state budget address, the school aid figures were released, along with Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf’s Education Funding Report. This report is both an analysis of the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) and a blueprint on how to amend the formula as we move forward.
Most board members and school administrators, when they analyze a funding formula or state aid, take a very local view. Understandably, they concentrate on one thing: How does it affect their district? If a formula puts them on the plus side, they like it. If it reduces state aid, they don’t.
If they really do not like it, they may even take the state to court. Since the Robinson v. Cahill case in 1973 and through the series of Abbott decisions, coming up with a system that works – and lasts – has been an elusive goal. In fact, fully funding a system has also proven elusive, so elusive that it has only been done twice. I think it’s hard to judge a formula, any formula, if the state never fully funds it.