Gov. Chris Christie has announced the members of the N.J. Education Funding Task Force, which he created in March by issuing Executive Order No. 89. The task force is charged “with examining the State’s school funding formula and developing recommendations for the governor concerning those areas of the formula that may be susceptible to fraud or subject to outside manipulation, including, but not limited to, participation in the Federal Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program.”
The Task Force will be chaired by Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks. It also will include Common Sense Institute of New Jersey President and former Randolph Board of Education President Jerry W. Cantrell; former Paterson Public Schools Director of Early Childhood Education Anna Lugo DeMolli; Fort Lee Public Schools Interim Superintendent Steven Engravalle; Stern & Kilcullen Partner John P. Inglesino; St. Benedict’s Prep Headmaster and Essex County Vocational and Technical Schools Board President Rev. Edwin D. Leahy; and Former Absecon City Councilmember Charles Urban.
EO 89 directed the task force to consider the following issues:
- Economically effective measures of student poverty;
- Educationally sound measures of defining at-risk students;
- Appropriate adjustments to the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) to account for municipal property ratable bases that may be artificially deflated as a result of municipal property tax abatements;
- Identifying all aspects of the SFRA that may be susceptible to fraud, or subject to undue outside manipulation and recommendations to address these abuses.
The task force is to present its final report only 120 days after its first meeting.