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Why Isn’t There Enough Money to Educate Kids in Low-Income New Jersey Towns?

The issue for Freehold Borough — and an estimated two-thirds of New Jersey’s 586 school districts — is the state’s nine-year-old formula for paying for public schools. Adopted by the state legislature in 2008, it calculates how much each district needs to spend to ensure that students receive New Jersey’s promise of a “thorough and efficient” education,” regardless of income. The formula directs extra dollars to districts with children who are learning English, kids with disabilities and those living in poverty. But towns like Freehold Borough, where half of the school children are Latino, have not gotten their full share of funding under the formula since 2010. This year, for instance, the district was due $23 million, Tomazic said. It got $9 million.