Problems in Tracking Impact Of Extra N.J. Funding Found

By Karen Diegmueller — November 11, 1992 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

An inadequate monitoring system has made it virtually impossible to determine the impact of extra state funding on poor school districts in New Jersey, a report by a child-advocacy group contends.

“There is presently no way to tell with any certainty and accuracy how the special-needs districts utilized their 1991-92 funds for educational improvement,’' concludes the report, released late last month by the Association for Children of New Jersey.

Moreover, “the plans to utilize the current or a similar process in future school years do not provide confidence these serious gaps will be resolved,’' the report maintains.

The report, the product of an 18-month study, comes out as Republican legislative leaders are revising the 1990 law that provided the extra funding for poor districts. (See Education Week, Sept. 30, 1992.)

The law, passed in the wake of a state supreme court decision overturning the existing school-finance system, pumped money into 30 poor, urban districts in an attempt to provide equitable educational opportunities for all children.

Last year, amid taxpayer outrage over increased taxes that were used to fund the higher spending levels, lawmakers amended the act and reduced the amount of money earmarked for the special-needs districts.

Weaknesses Cited

The advocacy group undertook the project both to examine the needs of the districts and to evaluate the state education department’s plans for holding them accountable.

The investigation found weaknesses in five critical areas: criteria for defining educational improvements; the amount of funding provided to each district for educational improvements; state guidelines to help districts prioritize their needs; state oversight of spending; and evaluation measures.

For example, some districts may have used part of the funding as a way to relieve the local tax burden, according to the association.

The report also criticizes the state for not helping districts set priorities, for example in establishing preschool classes or full-day kindergarten.

The report also faults the department for monitoring only “the funding the district chooses to set aside’’ in its educational-improvement plan, rather than the total amount the district receives for improvement.

Along with highlighting flaws in the system of accountability, the report emphasizes the extraordinary tasks schools in these districts face. The association found extremely high levels of poverty, insufficient school resources, and seriously deteriorated facilities.

The findings “clearly confirm the need for additional funding,’' the report notes.

While the financial deficiencies remain great, the A.C.N.J. stressed the need for accountability in order to safeguard current and increased levels of funding.

“Questions about accountability, I hope, would transcend political considerations,’' said Cecilia Zalkind, the assistant director of the association and the author of the report.

“Accountability is a great way to advocate for laws for future funding,’' she said.

Larry Leverett, the assistant commissioner for urban education, said the group had lacked information to produce the report. “Although there are problems with the accuracy, the recommendations are sound and appropriate and are consistent with actions that have been taken or proposed to the board of education.’'

A version of this article appeared in the November 11, 1992 edition of Education Week as Problems in Tracking Impact Of Extra N.J. Funding Found

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP