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How Fair is the “Fairness Formula” for New Jersey School Children & Taxpayers?

Mark Weber, PhD Student, Rutgers Graduate School of Education

Ajay Srikanth, PhD Student, Rutgers Graduate School of Education

PDF Policy Brief: Weber.Srikanth.FairnessFormula.June_30

Executive Summary

This brief provides a first look at the “Fairness Formula,” Chris Christie’s school tax reform plan. In this analysis, we show:

  • The “Fairness Formula” will greatly reward the most-affluent districts, which are already paying the lowest school tax rates as measured by percentage of income.
  • The “Fairness Formula” will force the least-affluent districts to slash their school budgets, severely increase local property taxes, or both.
  • The premise of the “Fairness Formula” – that the schools enrolling New Jersey’s at-risk students have “failed” during the period of substantial school reform – is contradicted by a large body of evidence.

The “Fairness Formula,” then, would transform New Jersey’s school funding system from a national model of equity[1] into one of the least equitable in the country, both in terms of education and taxation. This proposal is so radical and so contradicted by both the evidence and economic theory that even the harshest critics of school funding reform cannot support it.

[1] See: http://www.schoolfundingfairness.org

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