This story should be shared with anyone believing the Christie administration lie that they’ve properly funded schools. Report by New York Federal Reserve Bank has the numbers that make the truth clear. Promoted by Rosi
Even by the standard of political advertisements, Governor Christie’s TV spots are a pieces of work. Whether it’s boasting about job creation at the same time the state is actually losing tens of thousands of jobs or bragging about balancing budgets when the state Constitution requires that all budgets be balanced, Christie has repeatedly tried to spin failures and take credit for things over which he has absolutely no control.
Among Christie’s more galling claims is that he funded public schools at higher levels than anyone other Governor. Christie famously cut $1.1 billion cut from public schools his first year in office while giving the state’s wealthiest residents $1 billion in tax cuts. Outrage from urban and suburban parents – and a command from the State Supreme Court – has forced him to restore part of the aid, but the Education Law Center still estimates that he’s underfunded education by roughly $5 billion since taking office.
Now economists at the New York Federal Reserve Bank have released a report showing that the damage from Governor Christie’s cuts went deeper than we’d previously thought – and that New Jersey’s schools continue to bleed.
The economists looked at four representative districts: Newark, Camden, Wayne and Edison. They looked at federal, state, and local support for education since the start of the Great Recession and through the first three years of Governor Christie’s term. Some of what they found any parent could tell you: school aid cuts led to less spending on student instruction and extracurriculars and placed an even heavier burden on local property taxpayers at a time when they could least afford it.
But here’s where the report gets interesting: the state’s per pupil funding has actually declined since those dramatic 2010 cuts – with the most dramatic funding shortfalls coming in 2011 and 2012. Contrary to the Governor’s fairy tale about initial shared sacrifice followed by aggressive investment, it turns out that the Christie Administration’s cuts have been deep and lasting.
Of the four school districts studied, Camden’s already troubled school system lost the most amount of funding per-pupil in 2010 and was forced to make the deepest cuts to student instruction. Now this year he’s perversely citing Camden’s failing schools as a pretext to wrest control away from the community.
And it seems like at every turn, Christie has chosen the wealthy over parents and students. In 2011 the legislature gave Christie an opportunity to undo the damage of his first year budget cuts and fully fund public schools through a millionaires’ tax – and, of course, he vetoed it.
Budgets are about choices – but so are elections. Chris Christie has obviously made his choices, and in November parents and property-tax payers will have a chance to tell him exactly what they think about them.
Rob Duffey is Policy and Communications Coordinator of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance