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THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY:

Does It Pay To Be Poor?

Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 13.25.03CNBNews photo credit

The football field and running track at the $87 million Gloucester City Elementary Middle School, 5th and Market Street, Gloucester City, NJ. In the summer of 2016, the public learned that the new middle school would have a football field and jogging track. CNBNew searched South Jersey to see if there were any other school districts that have a middle school football field, especially a lighted one and found none. In fact, we could find no middle school football teams in the state of New Jersey. 

Related: Gloucester City School Board Seeking Bids for Middle School Field Lights

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DOROTHY PHILBIN | CNBNews

 

The short answer - YES, it does.

 
Everyone in the Gloucester City School District (Gloucester City, NJ)  is familiar with the Abbott program but do we know what qualified us for the Abbott program?  Most of us think we do 1) must be poor, 2) must be urban and 3) must have poor educational performance.  But there is a fourth criteria, one that isn't brought into the open very often.
 
That last criteria is "existence of an 'excessive tax [for] municipal services' in the locality in which the district is located.*
 
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Let's look at that again.  Unless our municipal taxes were unrealistically high and put a financial burden on our poor community, we may not have qualified for the Abbott program.  So, it seems it was to our advantage that our governmental leaders in the 1985 1o 1990 years were overly loose with the purse strings.  Sadly, that tax and spend mentality has carried over the next 30 years.  This mayor and council are not more fiscally responsible than those of three decades ago.
 
So, what does our tax and spend local government get us?  Abbott districts get fully-funded pre-school programs, buildings and grounds (think football fields.)  Below is the state school aid for Gloucester City and Paulsboro.  Paulsboro isn't that different from Gloucester City but for some reason (local taxes, perhaps) it was never included in the Abbott program.
 
Caption                             Gloucester City                        Paulsboro
 
Fiscal Year 21                        30,006,573                                 14,031,500
Equalization                           20,956,802                                 13,377,639
Transportation                             233,679                                      179,476
Special Education                    1,108,064                                      715,226
Security                                       759,837                                      498,216
Adjustment Aid                         8,476,977                                          -0-
K-12 Aid                                  31,535,359                                14,794,167         
 
There is nothing to say that we will lose our funding if our politicians stop spending money we don't have so, thank you politicians.  We have achieved our goal; you can stop spending now.
Screen Shot 2022-02-11 at 13.20.33The Gloucester City Middle School opened September 5, 2017. The $87 million school is the new home of an estimated 685 students from grade 4 up to grade 8. The new 122,000 square-foot school includes 27 general classrooms, eight special education classrooms, three science classrooms, a cafetorium with stage, gymnasium, media center, computer lab and administrative offices. (
 
(https://www.njsda.gov/)
 
RELATED: 
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*Abbott II 119 N.J. at 342     
 
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RELATED: CATEGORY... AUTHOR DOROTHY PHILBIN
 
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The author's background:
 
BA            Foreign Languages                         Rutgers
BS              Business Management                  Rutgers
MBA           Business Management                  Drexel 
M. Ed         Education (K-6, ESL, MYSS)      St. Joseph's
ABD PhD  Educational Law and Finance     Nova Southeastern
 
Taught:  8 years   Rutgers University
                17 years   Public School Systems
 

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