LETTER – Ciattarelli says Jersey City’s better credit rating another reason for school funding reform

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Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli issued a statement today on Mayor Steve Fulop’s boast after Moody’s raised Jersey City’s debt rating to double-A.

“Moody’s, the Wall Street rating agency, recently raised Jersey City’s debt rating to double A.  This is certainly good news for Jersey City, but more of the same for taxpayers across the state who continue to pay for Jersey City schools.

 

How is it that time and again, Jersey City can boast of positive developments while continuing its dependency on others to pay for its schools?  Indeed, for the 2016/2017 school year, $420 million or 66% of Jersey City’s school budget is paid for by New Jersey taxpayers, including those whose own school districts are underfunded by the state.

 

Of course, with the all the good news out of Jersey City, there’s always the usual ‘salt in the wound’ comments from Mayor Steve Fulop: ‘We’ve taken a forward-looking approach to fiscal planning . . . investing in public safety, new parks, increased recreation, and other quality-of-life issues – all without raising taxes.’

 

The mayor makes mention of not raising taxes, but makes no mention of investing in schools.  Pretty easy and convenient when someone else is paying the tab.  Jersey City, by the way, is not alone in this distinction.

 

Jersey City is the poster child for all that’s wrong with the current school funding formula, which is terribly flawed, blatantly unfair and a violation of other communities’ constitutional rights under the equal benefit clause.  I will continue to advocate for legislation that reforms the distribution of state school aid and requires all communities to make a minimal contribution to their schools.”

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