On Thursday, Oct. 27, Assembly leaders introduced their own school funding reform bill to compete with the separate reform proposals made by Gov. Chris Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney. The latest among the competing bills, ACR2, would establish the Joint Legislative Committee on Public School Funding Reform to recommend proposals on state funding of public schools. ACR2 is sponsored by the Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assembly Education Committee chair Marlene Caride.
The joint committee would be comprised of three state Senators and three Assembly members; and Republicans are guaranteed one of the seats from each house. The bill also creates a 12-person working group to provide information to the committee, and to serve in an advisory capacity and as a resource to the committee in its deliberations. The working group will be comprised of representatives of various statewide education associations, including NJSBA.
The joint committee would review the current school funding law and formulate proposals that address problems and issues that have arisen since the enactment of the law. Specifically mentioned in the resolution are issues associated with changes in the demographics and fiscal conditions of school districts that have impacted the ability of local communities to support the education of their students.