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Panel wrestles with New Jersey school funding

5-5-14

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey lawmakers have divergent views on a fair way to distribute aid to school districts.

In budget committee hearing on Monday, Republican Assemblyman Jay Webber asked Education Commissioner David Hespe whether it’s fair for the state to subsidize low-income districts at a much higher level per student compared with most suburban schools.

But Democratic lawmakers asked why Gov. Chris Christie’s administration wants to give schools a $20 per student boost in the coming year regardless of income.

Since Christie became governor, the state has not used a funding formula set in a 2008 law to allocate money to school.

The state Education Department says it would cost $1.1 billion more to fund schools at the level required under that formula.