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Report Proposes Revamped Funding Process for New Jersey's Public Schools

$1 Billion Under the Sofa Cushions?

Trenton, NJ, September 15, 2007 --( A new report offers guidance to New Jersey officials developing the state's school funding formula, on where to find more revenue. It was written for state officials and the general public, and released by nonpartisan civic group Value New Jersey.

The report, entitled "Principles: What Should We Expect in New Jersey's Next School Finance Formula?", says that funding practices have accelerated the cost increases for public schools.

The report attributes over $1 billion annually in unnecessary school spending to the legislative process that sets the formula.

"One biggie is that the state hasn't given a constructive way to resolve funding disputes. The result is 40 years wandering in the desert of expensive litigation," said Jonathan A. Marshall, the report's lead author.

"Another one is guesswork. The state has collected very little data to figure out which educational programs work, and what they cost. Without that knowledge, legislators are in the dark on where to spend," Dr. Marshall said.

To solve these and other problems with New Jersey's school funding formula, the report proposes a more disciplined approach. "It gives 32 nonpartisan steps to help officials make cost-effective policy decisions," he said.

"I hope that the upcoming elections will focus the state's attention on the problems of funding formula development, and on the solutions that are at our doorstep," said Marshall.

The report was developed with input from residents of 23 diverse municipalities across New Jersey, including major cities, suburbs, and rural townships.

"We've identified new potential sources of revenue, right under our legislature's sofa cushions," said Marshall. "It's understandable why other reviews have missed these sources."

About Value New Jersey

Value New Jersey ( is a nonpartisan, statewide network of residents and activists. Membership is open to the public. The group was founded in 2006 to promote cost-effective, high-quality education and other public services.

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Value New Jersey
Jonathan A. Marshall
+1 908-766-2259

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