To get Cherry Hill's fair share of NJ State funding, after years of gross under-funding.
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I am writing in support of Cherry Hill, NJ, the 12th largest school district in the State of New Jersey. As a Cherry Hill resident/supporter, I want to bring to your attention an alarming issue that represents an unfair and disturbing reality in our town.
Consider a number of facts that illustrate that Cherry Hill has been grossly, unfairly underfunded by the State of New Jersey for the past decade:
1. Out of 590 school districts in New Jersey, 379 districts (64%) receive less than 100% of their formula funding. 239 school districts receive less than 70%, a useful definition of severe underfunding. In Cherry Hill, we are at 48.6%!
2. The consequence for our district is that we are forced to try to make up the difference by raising local taxes well above our fair share. 91% of our school budget is paid by Cherry Hill taxpayers. The average taxpayer burden to fund schools in NJ is 65%.
3. Based on the current School Funding Formula, we have been shortchanged over $100M in State Aid in the past decade, over $10M per year. We are STILL being underfunded by over $10M each year. Cherry Hill receives $14.1M in State Aid in 2017-2018, not half what we would get with Uncapped Aid according to the approved School Funding Formula ($29M) and far less than we would get if it received the average given per student in the State ($65.4M).
4. Cherry Hill receives $1,279 per student, while the average NJ district will receive $5,956 in aid per student in 2017-2018. In Cherry Hill, we receive less than half the state aid we deserve by approved formula, creating a deficit of $1,364 per student each year.
I urge you to immediately work to correct this injustice for Cherry Hill Township as we're losing more ground in what we can provide compared to other NJ schools each year. Our investment in our children is severely short-changed by a decade of neglect at the highest NJ governmental levels. This perverse reality has to stop NOW.
We are sick and tired of this brand of taxation without equity as it has driven a dilution of services and extreme facility concerns. To get our District facilities up to a reasonable par, we must find a way to fix funding going forward as well as a method to recover $100M+ that we have lost in the past 10 years.
We are sinking and need a lifeline from the leaders we chose to protect us to preserve our town and a reputation that was built over many decades. The severe funding inequity has to stop for our kids, our home values, our tax burden and for basic fairness to our town.
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