Senator Steve Oroho, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding published reports that waste, fraud and abuse are rampant in the 31 Special Needs districts:
“I am dismayed by the most-recent reports in the Star-Ledger and Trenton Times that draw attention to wasteful spending in Abbott districts. It is disturbing that some districts cited for waste and abuse will receive increases of as much as 16 percent increase in their state funding under the new formula that was rammed through a lame-duck session of the Legislature.
“These revelations make it clear the Legislature should revisit the school funding formula immediately. A proper formula would be equitable. State funding would always follow the child and be based on the individual child’s needs, not be assigned based on outdated analysis of which districts are most needy. That has only led to out-of-control spending and a lack of accountability that has produced predictably poor results.
“Schools must be held accountable. Aid must get to the classroom. Too often, it’s diverted to the wasteful uses highlighted in the auditor’s report. That will never be acceptable. It’s past time to adopt a fair school funding formula, with safeguards against waste and abuse.
“It is also imperative that we immediately revisit the way we fund our schools because education is a huge component of our state budget. If we are serious about getting our fiscal house in order, the Governor should put school funding back on the table as part of this year’s budget deliberations.”