TRENTON -- Monmouth County Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey were joined at Monday’s Assembly Budget Hearing by over one hundred concerned parents, teachers, and administrators who are calling out for fair school funding in the state of New Jersey. Houghtaling and Downey, who have introduced legislation to bring every school district up to 100 percent funding within five years, have used current budget deliberations to renew their push for equitable school funding.
“We’ve toured underfunded schools in Freehold, Red Bank, and Neptune City, we’ve brought the budget chairman to our district to talk to school board officials, and the conclusion we’ve come to is that temporary fixes are not enough to solve this crisis,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), “We need to reexamine adjustment aid, enrollment growth caps, and other provisions that have left some schools underfunded and overcrowded.
“Ever-increasing school taxes are unfortunately part of the reason why so many families are forced to pack up and move away from their communities, which is heartbreaking to see. Fixing school funding is the key to bringing about real property tax reform,” said Downey (D-Monmouth), “The Governor has now finally realized we need a bipartisan solution to school funding, and we are taking this opportunity to listen to our residents and continue the fight for fair funding.”
Early in their first term in the General Assembly, Houghtaling and Downey partnered with Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senate Education Chair Teresa Ruiz to introduce legislation that would establish the State School Aid Funding Fairness Commission. The commission would be charged with proposing legislation to the Legislature, within one year of its inception, that would bring every school district up to 100 percent funding.