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Freeholder: Democrats' School Funding Bill Hurts Sandy Stricken Communities

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From the Desk of Freeholder Joseph Vicari

TOMS RIVER- Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari is calling upon state leaders to produce a funding formula for school aid that is fair to every school district and every taxpayer.

In a letter to Gov. Christie, Vicari stated that under a new school funding proposal by State Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Ocean County schools would see a decrease in state funding totaling almost $6.8 million.

“That is too great of a loss for districts still trying to recover from the losses of Superstorm Sandy,” Vicari said. “We have to do better. I know we can do better.”

“As a longtime educator and school administrator I can say without hesitation that this formula is not fair when you are cutting aid from school districts that have worked so hard to come back from a devastating storm and at the same time made every effort to minimize the burden on taxpayers,” Vicari wrote to the Governor.

Vicari noted the County was joining with 10th District Legislators in opposing the new formula and demanding a school aid formula be produced that is fair to all taxpayers.

“Ocean County is tired of watching its tax dollars leave the County in order to fund failing programs elsewhere in the state of New Jersey,” he said.

Vicari said that under the Sweeney/Prieto school funding proposal, the Toms River Regional School District would see its state aid slashed by $3.3 million and Brick Township would lose nearly $2.2 million.

“These cuts would be catastrophic affecting essential programs and staff,” Vicari said.

Other local school districts, including Lakehurst, Seaside Heights, Lavallette, Little Egg Harbor Township, Pinelands Regional and Island Heights would lose funding as well. All totaled, the loss would be almost $6.8 million.

“It is hard to believe that Mr. Sweeney and Mr. Prieto have already forgotten about the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and that Ocean County is still reeling financially from its blow,” Vicari wrote. “Toms River Township and Brick Township like all of the affected towns in Ocean County are beginning to see progress nearly five years after the storm, but the recovery is slow.

“This funding formula creates an even greater financial burden on Ocean County taxpayers while being touted as a “fair” formula,” he said.

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