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The state commissioner of education recently upheld a decision by an administrative law judge dismissing a lawsuit from eight New Jersey school boards challenging the equity of school funding changes implemented in 2018.

In an opinion released on the state Department of Education website in December and dated Oct. 31, Commissioner Lamont Repollet said he agreed with the August decision by the administrative law judge dismissing the suit on the grounds that the petitioners lacked standing.

The lawsuit was filed in early 2019 by the Brick Township Board of Education, seven other school boards — including Weymouth Township in Atlantic County — five municipalities and one taxpayer, Stephanie Wohlrab, president of the Brick Township Board of Education.

The lawsuit was in reaction to a reduction of state aid school officials have said is devastating. In joining the suit in early 2019, former Weymouth Township Superintendent John Alfieri said school funding changes signed into law in 2018 carry a seven-year potential loss of $1.6 million for the tiny district.

Weymouth was one of several South Jersey districts to receive a reduction in state aid as part of the school funding law change, which eliminated growth caps on the state formula and phased out “adjustment aid” over seven years.

The bill was crafted to fund districts that were receiving less than the amount of money they were supposed to receive according to the formula, despite growing enrollment each year.

Mark Tabakin, the attorney representing the district, was not available for comment Tuesday.

Contact: 609-272-7251

CLowe@pressofac.com

Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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