School Funding Tricks

Jun 21, 2017

To the Editor:

This letter responds to “No Funding Relief For LBI Taxpayers for Decade at Least” (6/14) and is addressed to LBI taxpayers.

Like the cicada insect, the notion that the regional school funding formula is a “ridiculous structure” rises up every so many years.

The district is a regional district. The cost per pupil is the cost per pupil, period. A student from Ship Bottom costs the district the same as a student from Stafford. It is only when a statistical sleight of hand is applied that the illusion of inequities appears.

The trickster will tell you that it is not truly a regional district, rather it is a school system of towns. This line of reasoning can be taken to the street level: In a town, each property pays about $1,000 in school tax. On 30th Street there are 10 houses and on 31st Street there are 10 houses. On 30th Street the total tax collected is $10,000 and on 31st Street the total tax collected is $10,000. On 30th Street there are 20 children in school and on 31st Street there is one child in school. The trickster wants you to be outraged that taxpayers on 30th Street pay $500 per student ($10,000 divided by 20) and taxpayers on 31st Street pay $10,000 per student ($10,000 divided by 1).

Once the notion of a regional district is dismissed, statistical models can prove any parity or inequity. For example, there is the Island and there is the mainland. The Island has six towns, the mainland has one town, seven total. Since the mainland is one town it should pay 15 percent of the cost of the school (1 divided by 7) and likewise because the Island is six towns it should pay 86 percent of the cost of the school (6 divided by 7).

I do not like to pay taxes and I do not think I owe anyone because my children went to Southern Regional. I am not the least bit interested in paying it forward or backward.

What I do want is that all the children who go to Southern graduate and find lucrative careers (and of course contribute 15 percent of their income to FICA tax). If you mess with 80 percent of a school’s funding, education will suffer. Please look at your tax bill and see what you pay for the pre-K through 6 and 7 through 12 schools. Then compare that to any New Jersey town north of Toms River or south of Tuckerton. School tax is not your biggest problem.

Tom Tallon

Ship Bottom


































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