On March 13, the N.J. Department of Education (NJDOE) released its Education Adequacy Report (EAR) for Fiscal Year 2020.
The NJDOE is planning to perform a comprehensive review of not only the factors in the EAR but also other aspects of School Funding Reform Act of 2008 (SFRA). To accomplish this, the NJDOE indicates that it will reach out to stakeholders and convene expert panels over the course of several months to analyze all aspects of the formula.
Much of the basis for the funding allocations resulting from the SFRA comes from a comprehensive school district model, which included input from panels of experts and practitioners.
Under SFRA, the governor must issue the Education Adequacy Report to the Legislature every three years, with recommendations for updating certain elements included in the formula. This document marks the third cycle of the governor’s recommendations according to the statutory requirement contained in N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-46(b). The EAR must include updates pertaining to the following seven major components of the funding formula:
- the base per pupil amount based upon the core curriculum content standards established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7F-46(a);
- the per pupil amount for full-day preschool;
- the weights for grade level, county vocational districts, at-risk pupils, bilingual pupils, and combination (at-risk and bilingual) pupils;
- the cost coefficients for security aid and transportation aid;
- the state average classification rate for general special education services pupils and for speech-only pupils;
- the excess cost for general special education services pupils and for speech-only pupils; and
- the extraordinary special education aid thresholds.
All of the factors in the EAR and SFRA are under review, according to the NJDOE.