SENATE, No. 2973

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 18, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JAMES BEACH

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires upcoming Educational Adequacy Report to include comprehensive review of certain components of school funding in consultation with certain stakeholders and experts.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the Educational Adequacy Report and amending P.L.2007, c.260.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 4 of P.L.2007, c.260 (C.18A:7F-46) is amended to read as follows:

     4. a. The State Board of Education shall review and update the core curriculum content standards every five years.  The standards shall ensure that all children are provided the educational opportunity needed to equip them for the role of citizen and labor market competitor.

     The Commissioner of Education shall develop and establish, through the report issued pursuant to subsection b. of this section, efficiency standards which define the types of programs, services, activities, and materials necessary to achieve a thorough and efficient education.

     b.    By September 1 of 2010 and by September 1 every three years thereafter, the Governor, after consultation with the commissioner, shall recommend to the Legislature through the issuance of the Educational Adequacy Report for the three school years to which the report is applicable:

     (1)   the base per pupil amount based upon the core curriculum content standards established pursuant to subsection a. of this section;

     (2)   the per pupil amounts for full-day preschool;

     (3)   the weights for grade level, county vocational school districts, at-risk pupils, bilingual pupils, and combination pupils;

     (4)   the cost coefficients for security aid and transportation aid;

     (5)   the State average classification rate for general special education services pupils and for speech-only pupils;

     (6)   the excess cost for general special education services pupils and for speech-only pupils; and

     (7)   the extraordinary special education aid thresholds.

     The base per pupil amount, the per pupil amounts for full-day preschool, the excess costs for general special education services pupils and for speech-only pupils, and the cost-coefficients for security aid and transportation aid shall be adjusted by the CPI for each of the two school years following the first school year to which the report is applicable.

     The amounts shall be deemed approved for the three successive fiscal years beginning from the subsequent July 1, unless between the date of transmittal and the subsequent November 30, the Legislature adopts a concurrent resolution stating that the Legislature is not in agreement with all or any specific part of the report.  The concurrent resolution shall advise the Governor of the Legislature's specific objections to the report and shall direct the commissioner to submit to the Legislature a revised report which responds to those objections by January 1.

     c.  (1)  In developing the Educational Adequacy Report to next be issued following the date of enactment of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Governor, in consultation with the commissioner, shall engage a diverse group of stakeholders, including school administrators, staff, students, parents, and other community members, to identify the necessary school resources and student supports that are not adequately funded through State school aid determined pursuant to P.L.2007, c.260 (C.18A:7F-43 et al.). 

     (2)  In updating the information required to be recommended pursuant to subsection b. of this section for the Educational Adequacy Report to next be issued following the date of enactment of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Governor, in consultation with the commissioner, shall commission various school finance experts to recommend revisions to the methodologies for the determination of the: base per pupil amount for grades kindergarten through 12; per pupil amounts for full-day preschool; weights for grade level, county vocational school districts, at-risk pupils, bilingual pupils, and combination pupils; excess costs for general special education services pupils and for speech-only pupils; and cost-coefficients for security aid and transportation aid.  The recommended revisions to the methodologies for determining these weights and amounts shall ensure that the weights and amounts result in funding to school districts sufficient to adequately support students in meeting the State’s current core curriculum content standards.  With respect to the recommended revisions to the methodology for determining the per pupil amounts for full-day preschool, the recommendations shall ensure that the per pupil amounts are sufficient to assist school districts in meeting current preschool program requirements across all settings, including district programs, licensed child care provider programs, Head Start Programs, and mixed delivery systems.  With respect to the recommended revisions to the methodology for determining the cost coefficients for transportation aid, the recommendations shall reflect actual district expenditures on pupil transportation services. 

(cf: P.L.2007, c.260, s.4)

 

     2. This act shall take effect immediately.

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires the upcoming Educational Adequacy Report to be developed in consultation with certain education stakeholders and school finance experts. 

     Under current law, an Educational Adequacy Report is required to be issued every three years by the Governor, in consultation with the Commissioner of Education.  The purpose of the report is to update the various parameters used to calculate State aid to school districts, including the base per pupil amount, various grade level and student characteristic weights, preschool education per pupil amounts, security and transportation aid cost coefficients, excess cost and classification rate assumption for census-based special education funding, and extraordinary special education aid thresholds. 

     The requirements established under the bill would apply to the next upcoming Educational Adequacy Report that is to be issued by September 1, 2025.  Specifically, the bill requires the Governor, in consultation with the commissioner, to engage a diverse group of stakeholders, including school administrators, staff, students, parents, and other community members, to identify the necessary school resources and student supports that are not adequately funded through the State school funding formula.  In addition, the bill requires the Governor and the commissioner to commission various school finance experts to recommend revisions to the methodologies used for the determination of various cost factors that are required to be updated under the Educational Adequacy Report.