State denies Brick’s request for data on school funding cuts

Brick Administration Building [FILE PHOTO]

BRICK TOWNSHIP — New Jersey’s Department of Education has denied a Brick school district request for details on how state education aid allocations are determined.

James Edwards, the district’s business administrator, said the request was filed jointly with the Toms River school district, under the Open Public Records Act [OPRA].

“They [state officials] told us that the $6.4 billion that’s spent in state aid, the way it’s divvied, is proprietary, and that we’re not entitled to it,” Mr. Edwards told the board of education on May 2.
Michael Yaple, DOE Director of Public Information, said Thursday that what the district had requested was the computer code used in the process.

“The DOE provides an approximately 10-page report to each district that describes how the state aid was derived for that district,” Mr. Yaple told The Ocean Star in an email on Thursday.

“All of the inputs to the formula are publicly available (i.e., data that feeds into the formula, enrollment, income, property value data). What is being discussed are the computer codes that the Department uses, and that is considered proprietary to the Department.”

Mr. Yaple said that Brick’s aid has been adjusted “because it has been overfunded” under the amended [S2] School Funding Reform Act.

“Beyond that, the districts and the Department are involved in litigation, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to provide public commentary on the matter,” Mr. Yaple said.

Brick schools are on pace to lose $22 million in state aid over the next five years, under state legislation determining the distribution of such aid.

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