Christie Says New School Funding Plan Would Be Phased In

TRENTON (AP) -

Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday that New Jersey school districts would have time to phase in his sweeping plan to distribute state aid equally.

The Republican unveiled the new detail to his proposal, unveiled on Tuesday, during his regular radio call-in show.

You can’t do this all in one fell swoop,” he said. “They’re going to have to get used to rightsizing.”

Christie’s plan would redistribute billions in state aid from poorer districts to other schools. The nearly 600 school districts would get $6,599 per pupil across the board. Currently 31 urban and low-income schools get most of the $9.1 billion in state aid. The state’s 546 other districts divide the rest according to a formula called for by the state Supreme Court.

Democrats who control the Legislature criticized the plan as “unconstitutional” and “radical,” but Christie called the current method “immoral.”

Christie also said his plan could see some schools close, but he didn’t say how many.

“I think there will be school closings but school closings where it was appropriate to close schools because they have too many schools open,” he said.

He also unveiled a website, nj.gov/taxrelief, on Wednesday to promote his effort, which comes with about 18 months left in his second and final term. The site allows users to calculate estimated property tax savings.