Senate Democrats have no backbone on school funding, say Eulner and Piperno

Senate Democrats have no backbone on school funding, say Eulner and Piperno

Kim Eulner

TRENTON, N.J. – Democrats in the Senate stuck to their deal (S3732/A5238) today with Gov. Phil Murphy that school districts losing funding should settle for a partial return of their state aid.

Assemblywomen Kim Eulner and Marilyn Piperno criticized Democrats unwillingness to join Republicans in protecting schools from funding cuts.

“In the end this shows that Governor Murphy wants some schools to have less money and have higher property taxes,” said Eulner (R-Monmouth). “It also shows that the people who wouldn’t support returning full funding don’t have the backbone to stand up to the governor and do the right thing.”

The Democrats’ deal would return 66% of funding to 161 districts facing cuts this year. However, school representatives’ and education advocates’ testimony in committee today decried that it wouldn’t do anything to fix S2 – the state law passed in 2018 that led to school funding cuts. They also asked the state to revisit the school funding formula to make it more reflective of incomes rather than property values, which determines how high school property taxes should be.

Senate Democrats voted against a Republican amendment Monday proposed by Sen. Declan O’Scanlon in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and on the Senate floor to ensure no district loses funding for next school year.

“Schools are facing state aid losses despite being under their adequacy budget,” said Piperno (R-Monmouth). “Income and property tax payers are the same people. There is no reason why property taxes should have to rise if income taxes provide more than enough revenue to fully fund our schools without cutting any aid”

The deal is sponsored by Senators Vin Gopal and Andrew Zwicker, and Assemblymen Roy Freiman, Paul Moriarty and Assemblywomen Lisa Swain. Each sponsor voted for S2. Gopal and Zwicker voted to pass their bill, but decided not to vote on the amendment.