Abbott school district concept must be eliminated in New Jersey

In our state of New Jersey, to my knowledge, there are about 600 school districts that are funded with school aid by the state to offset the burden of property taxes.

For many years now, again to the best of my knowledge, about 30 or so of these school districts have been earmarked as so-called Abbott districts and they receive (significantlymore) school aid than the rest of the school districts.

In effect, out of every dollar earmarked by the state for aid to education and property tax relief to the municipalities and subsequently to the taxpayers themselves, 50 cents goes to the aforementioned Abbott districts and the other 50 cents is then divided proportionately to the remaining 570 or so school districts throughout the state.

At a timewhen every single resident and taxpayer in New Jersey is experiencing difficult times during this economic crisis we all face, the need for more state aid to the municipalities is crucial to keep property taxes in check and provide much-needed relief, especially now as the state of New Jersey has indicated it is planning to cut more school aid to all municipalities due to its deficits and budget crunch as well.

I sincerely believe it is time and much fairer to revisit and readjust the Abbott district concept as we move forward under the new Christie administration.

Further, may I suggest that every single reader of this letter to the editor reach out to our new Gov. Chris Christie and their local senators and congressmen as well for new legislation to change what may have been meaningful years ago but is no longer so.

Recent editorials have shown that despite the unfair distribution of money appropriated to the Abbott districts for better education, they are failing, and the additional money they have and are receiving has not made any difference.

If nothing is done, 95 percent of New Jersey’s school districts will not only get half of what the Abbott districts get, but perceptively even less than that and what they are getting now as a result of the deficit.

I sincerely hope that anyone and everyone reading this letter will write a letter to Gov. Christie and their respective congressmen once the new governor takes office.

Michael Kaufman