Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to order a complete audit of education spending in the state before committing to raising taxes to pump more money into what is already one of the most expensive school funding systems in the nation.
DeCroce (R-Morris, Essex, Passaic) said the prudent thing for the governor to do is to find out where the taxpayer’s education funding money is going before adding more money for schools in the FY-2019 budget.
“Any objective look at New Jersey’s K to 12 school funding operations will show that whatever anyone thinks is wrong with our state education system, the problem is not lack of money,” said DeCroce.
“The state needs to look at the way our education dollars are being spent and eliminate waste and duplication, rather than raising taxes on homeowners and businesses. Just as Gov. Murphy has called for an audit of NJ Transit, I believe he should order an education audit,” added DeCroce
The assemblywoman pointed to the facts about Jersey’s education funding:
- More than $13 billion (40 percent) of the current state budget is directed to school funding.
- Approximately $13 billion more is poured into the public school system from local property taxes.
- The average per pupil cost in New Jersey is $18,235 (2015 figures) which means New Jersey has the fourth highest state school spending total in the nation.
- The national per pupil spending average is $11,392.*
DeCroce said the data on school spending shows that New Jersey taxpayers are doing more than their fair share to support education – especially suburban homeowner who should not only the financial responsibility for their own schools, but pay approximately 80 percent of the funding for urban school districts.
“School funding accounts for more than 53 percent of the average family’s property tax bill; it is logical that to decrease the tax burden that is driving people out of New Jersey, the state should look deeply in how our education tax dollars are being spent,” said DeCroce.
“As a mother and grandmother I want New Jersey to have good schools, but I also want relieve the tax burden on families and businesses. We can accomplish both. I hope Gov. Murphy will give my suggestion his full attention,” said DeCroce.
*Source: Report by Governing magazine of 2015 Education Spending