WEST ORANGE, NJ – As one of the 150 school districts statewide to receive only 60 percent or less of the uncapped aid distribution from the state than it should with its current student enrollment, the West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) voted unanimously on Monday to join the Fair Funding Action Committee that is advocating for a fair distribution of funds.
According to the adopted resolution, joining this school-funding activist organization will enable the West Orange district to coordinate and connect with other underfunded school districts to advocate for the “full and equitable school funding for all of New Jersey’s public schools through the allocations of state school aid in accordance with the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA).”
The resolution states that West Orange is scheduled to receive $8,793,832 in 2018-19 uncapped aid versus $26,124,668 called for by the SFRA (34 cents on the dollar). The resolution also indicates that this the amount West Orange would receive under the SFRA, without applying adjustment aid (“Hold Harmless Aid”) or enrollment growth caps.
WOBOE president Ronald Charles read a letter sent on behalf of the board to State Senate President Steve Sweeney in support of his bill (NJ S2) to alter the way New Jersey distributes school aid. The bill would phase out adjustment aid that has allowed some districts to receive more aid than others. It would also eliminate growth caps so districts with growing enrollments can receive more funding.
Board vice president Mark Robertson said he is pleased that the WOBOE is now advocating for its rightful funding in a more organized, concerted way with an organization that is demanding of the state’s political leadership that public schools in New Jersey be funded equitably.
“We have been fighting as individual board members for this distribution change for a long time in different venues, but this membership will further enhance our efforts,” said board member Sandra Mordecai.
The WOHS girls softball team is recognized by the WOBOE for being the first league champions in the history of West Orange; Nahtali Simpson receives the Mountaineer Pride Award from athletic director Ronald Bligh to recognize her many athletic accomplishments—including being the all-time softball team hit leader in the school’s history; and the WOHS boys track and field team is recognized for being the state regional champions.