TRENTON, NJ - State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) said that Manville Mayor Richard Onderko’s testimony at a bipartisan school funding roundtable in Parsippany demonstrates the urgent need to reform the state’s broken school funding formula.
Manville, a borough within Bateman’s district, is the eighth most underfunded school district in New Jersey.
“A lot has changed in Manville since the state enacted the School Funding Reform Act in 2008,” Bateman said. “Years of under funding have forced the school district to cut programs and lay off dedicated teachers, despite steady enrollment. Severe flooding events have caused property values to plummet. Businesses and families are leaving because they can’t afford skyrocketing flood insurance premiums on top of a mortgage and rising property taxes.
“If the SFRA was distributing aid as intended, Manville families would be getting the property tax relief they need to stay in their homes, and their children would have a fair shot at a quality education. We need a fair school funding formula to ensure that every town, especially communities like Manville that have lost so much of their tax base, get the State aid they deserve and not a penny less.”
“Manville receives less state aid this year than we received back in 2010, even with student enrollment up over 100 students,” Onderko said. “A positive school aid adjustment would help stabilize property taxes and allow for a quality education to be offered to our students without cutting curriculum and teachers. Unfortunately, we cannot wait 3-5 years for a new funding school formula. Manville may be the ‘forgotten town’ when it comes to flood mitigation. We cannot afford to become the ‘forgotten town’ in acquiring more State aid for our schools.”
“I commend Mayor Onderko for speaking out on behalf of the 10,000 Manville residents who cope with the financial impact of this crisis every day,” Bateman said. “My colleagues in the Senate are working hard on a bipartisan basis to fix the formula now. It’s time for the Assembly Leadership to come to the table. Families in Manville, and underfunded school districts statewide, can’t afford to wait any longer for school funding reform.”