Statewide SFRA Data
The NJDOE School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) was passed in 2008 and, as stated in the original legislation, was “the culmination of five years of diligent efforts by both the Executive and Legislative branches of State government to develop an equitable and predictable way to distribute State aid that addresses the deficiencies found in past formulas as identified by the Supreme Court.”
The legislation also states: “The formula accounts for the individual characteristics of school districts and the realities of their surroundings, including the need for additional resources to address the increased disadvantages created by high concentrations of children at-risk.”
Unfortunately, New Jersey has failed to follow the SFRA formula.
- Many schools, funded prior to the passing of SFRA at a level well below the SFRA formula amount, were never brought up to the new, approved level.
- Many schools, funded prior to the passing of SFRA at a level well above the SFRA formula amount, were never brought down to the new, approved level.
The blue button above takes you to reports of school funding as it exists for the FY 2016.
FIRST, You can enter any district across the state to find out specific information related to that district.
- One view provides a look at how the district is funded with respect to the overall state contribution to SFRA for this school year: ABOVE or BELOW the state's current level of contribution -- 85.34% of its overall, statewide SFRA requirement for the 2015-16 school year.
- There is also an indication as to what percentage of the individual school budgets would be state funded if the SFRA was funded at the uncapped level. This gives insight into the degree of importance of those state dollars to the specific local budgets.
SECOND, there are COUNTY and LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT selections that show the same information across these territories -- ranking the counties or legislative districts by % of SFRA aid received or by % SFRA funding with respect to overall budget. By then clicking an individual county or legislative district, a display of all the schools within the territory selected is provided.
FINALLY, there is information included regarding an index created by Superintendent Kennedy Greene from Newton Public Schools (Sussex County) called the Funding Fairness Index (FFI). This index is used in our analysis to identify districts in the state in greatest need for additional state aid. The districts identified are those that are underfunded according to their SFRA formula and unable to make up the difference due to the fact that the school tax rate is already at or above the local fair share for the community.
It is an analysis that combines:
1. the percentage UNDER the Adequacy Budget a district is currently spending AND
2. the percentage OVER the local fair share (school tax) a school district is currently receiving from its community members.
For a district to be highlighted as IN GREATEST NEED, the district needs to be spending below Adequacy AND taxing above the state determined local fair share. There are 70 districts in the state that meet these criteria. For these districts, both of these percentages are combined as negative values; the farther below zero the greater the need. (a district with an FFI of -26 is in greater need than a district with an FFI of -10).
Woodbury City Public Schools
State Aid Information
In May 2017, Woodbury City Public Schools created a petition to urge Governor Christie to either fully fund the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) or at least reform the current calculations so school districts are all underfunded fairly.
On May 7, 2015, Woodbury City Public Schools, in conjunction with the City Council of Woodbury, hosted an informational meeting on the topic of the unfair distribution and underfunding of the SFRA state aid dollars. This meeting was the beginning of a concerted effort to have local school and government representatives come together to present a unified, larger voice to state officials controlling educational aid. Acknowledging that the state claims it doesn’t have enough money to fully fund SFRA, Woodbury City Public Schools’ Superintendent Joseph Jones, along with Business Administrator Kara Huber, explained that the current pressing issue is to address the disproportionate percentage of the SFRA formula among New Jersey school districts. The theme of the meeting was ‘Please Underfund Us Fairly.’
Superintendents, business administrators, school board presidents, city mayors, freeholders, assemblymen, and senators from 13 school districts in Gloucester County and 20 school districts from Camden County, covering five legislative districts, were invited to come together to discuss the state’s failure to equitably fund the SFRA formula to school districts and to advocate for change.
The school districts invited to the meeting were identified as those receiving less than the state-wide average of 85.3% of the uncapped SFRA formula funding for FY16. Woodbury City Public Schools is scheduled to receive only 70.4% of its uncapped SFRA funding in FY16 while other school districts are receiving a much higher percentage of SFRA funding than the state’s overall average contribution, and many receive over 100% of their uncapped calculation.
Superintendent Jones presented to the meeting attendees a historical look at SFRA and provided statistical analysis from the Educational Law Center of its underfunding over the years and the bleak outlook for many districts in FY16. If Governor Christie’s current State Budget passes, Woodbury City Public Schools will be underfunded in FY16 by over $5 million dollars, while other districts will be shorted even more money.
This meeting is the first of many to spread the word to legislators, school districts, and parents that this disproportionate SFRA funding cannot continue. Keep up-to-date on the progress of these plans by checking this page regularly.
To read Superintendent Jones’ PowerPoint presentation and Excel charts from the meeting, please click on the links below. To contact Superintendent Jones, please call 856-853-0123 ext. 230 or email him at [email protected].
The School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), implemented for the first time in the 2008-2009 school year, proved that the Woodbury City Public School District was not receiving a fair share of funding from the State of New Jersey. At the time, the State indicated it would make up the shortfall with 20% increases to state aid until the gap closed. Unfortunately, each year since this formula was enacted, Woodbury City Public Schools has been underfunded and the promise of the continued 20% increases did not materialize.
The school district will be underfunded by $5.05 million for the 2016-17 school year.
The District has consistently expressed our need for these funds to help lessen the burden on our taxpayers.
Below are copies of documented actions taken to bring attention to the need to fund the formula in its entirety: