Christie: Property tax ‘revolution’ may close city schools
Gov. Chris Christie said failing, underpopulated schools in urban areas would close under his idea for redistributing school aid so that it’s equal per pupil in every municipality, but he said those districts would get a few years to adjust to reduced aid in ways that wouldn’t have to hurt students.
“I think there would be school closings. But school closings where it would be appropriate to close schools because they have too many schools open,” Christie said on New Jersey 101.5’s "Ask the Governor."
“In these urban districts they have been fed money and been told that money will produce results, and they haven’t,” Christie said.
Nearly the entire first half of Christie’s monthly call-in show was devoted to the topic of the so-called Fairness Formula that he rolled out in a speech Tuesday, when the idea was quickly panned by Democratic legislative leaders and other groups.
Christie shrugged off the remarks, particularly the criticism that his idea to equalize school aid at $6,599 per student is radical.
“Radical to give every student in the state equal funding. Only Democrats and the teachers’ union could say that giving everybody the same amount of money is unfair. I mean, it’s ridiculous,” Christie said. “And what’s been unfair is the fact that district after district after district in this state has gotten screwed by this Supreme Court and this funding formula put forward by the Legislature.”
“We’re rolling out an entire plan and an approach that is revolutionary in New Jersey. I absolutely agree with that,” Christie said. “But I got 18 months left. And if the people out there who are listening want to have a revolution on property taxes, let’s have it. And let’s storm the Statehouse if they don’t want to do it.”
“This is going to wave across the state in a way that we haven’t seen anything wave across the state in a long time. I’m willing to bet that. Because people are tired” of property taxes," he said.
Christie reiterated a contention he’d made in an interview Tuesday with New Jersey 101.5 — that suburban Democrats will have a hard time opposing a plan that would benefit 75 percent of districts.
“If you’re the state senator representing, how can you be opposed to that? How can you so ill-serve your constituents?” Christie said.
“All the geniuses in the media today who say this is dead on arrival, we’ll see,” he said. “We’ll see when the people of the state start speaking.”