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ERIC Number: ED570344
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Newark Public Schools: Budget Impacts of Underfunding and Rapid Charter Growth
Farrie, Danielle; Johnson, Monete
Education Law Center
The budget of the State-operated Newark Public Schools (NPS) is now in its fourth year of crisis. The district is currently struggling to close a $13 million budget hole almost halfway into the school year. Most importantly, the ongoing budget crisis has eroded essential resources in district schools, depriving students of the opportunity for a thorough and efficient education. This report analyzes the impact of the NPS budget crisis on per pupil spending and staff levels in district schools. The authors find that the combined stress of chronic underfunding and rapid charter expansion has significantly lowered spending and reduced staff and programs in district schools. The drastic underfunding of NPS under the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), combined with an increase in payments to charter schools, has left NPS with no alternative but to reduce spending on schools and students, resulting in significant cuts in teachers, support staff, special education, programs for English Language learners and other essential programs and services. It is clear that the NPS budget crisis is worsening--and will continue to worsen in coming years--depriving NPS students of the opportunity to achieve the Common Core State Standards (CCCS), the benchmark for a thorough and efficient education. Urgent action by the Commissioner, the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE), and the State District Superintendent is required to address this crisis. In order to stabilize the budget for the next few years and enable NPS to restore resources necessary for a thorough and efficient education, the following recommendations are presented: (1) Restore state formula aid to move NPS to full SFRA funding; (2) Increase the city of Newark's local contribution, utilizing waivers of the 2% property tax cap where appropriate; (3) Temporarily halt the expansion of enrollment in existing Newark charter schools, pending a thorough analysis by the Commissioner and the DOE of the impact of further expansion on the funding and resources available in district schools, as mandated by law and court rulings; (4) Reduce district payments to charter schools in 2016-17, by requiring Newark charter schools to apply any fund balance in excess of 2% to the charter's per pupil payment amount under the charter law; and (5) End the authorization of additional payments to charter schools from the NPS budget in excess of the per pupil amounts under the charter law. "Full-time Equivalent Staff by Job Code" is appended.
Education Law Center. 60 Park Place Suite 300, Newark, NJ 07102. Tel: 973-624-1815; Fax: 973-624-7339; e-mail: elc@edlawcenter.org; Web site: http://www.edlawcenter.org
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Education Law Center
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey (Newark)