Property Tax Cap Wouldn’t Improve New Jersey Policies
Response to the Manhattan Institute
 MA State Board of Education Committee on Distressed School Systems and School Reform, November 1991.
 See Phil Oliff and Iris J. Lav, Hidden Consequences: Lessons From Massachusetts for States Considering a Property Tax Cap, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Revised May 25, 2010 and guest column “Massachusetts is not a Model for New Jersey,” Star-Ledger, May 23, 2010. http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2010/05/massachusetts_is_not_a_model_f.html
 Both Massachusetts and New Jersey are high-spending states compared to national average per-pupil expenditures, both ranking among the top 10 states in education expenditures per pupil.
 There is no current data that compares total special education costs across states. A 2004 study found that New Jersey spent $1,272 more than Massachusetts for each special education student in the 1998-1999 school year. Special education costs in both states have increased substantially since that time, but the differential is likely to be at least as great today. Given the higher percentage of special education students in New Jersey (27% of NJ students compared to 15% of MA students) it is likely that anywhere from a third to a half of the current difference in total per-pupil spending is attributable to special education costs.
 Mari Molenaar and Michael Luciano, Financing Special Education in New Jersey, New Jersey Association of School Boards, September 2007. According to this report: “The U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Programs cited New Jersey for having the highest proportion of students with disabilities in separate settings (both public and private). New Jersey also has the fourth highest classification rate in the nation. In response to the federal agency’s concern about New Jersey’s progress toward educating special education students in the least restrictive environment, the state changed its funding formula in 1996 to one designed to provide the same aid regardless of the setting in which the services were delivered. In spite of this alteration in funding, there has been no change in the proportion of students in separate settings nor has there been any appreciable change in the classification rate. The design of future funding formulae should ensure that school districts are not inadvertently encouraged to place children in more restrictive settings.” http://www.njsba.org/specialeducation/index.html
 See Education Commission of the States, State Notes, “State Policies Focusing on Class Size Reduction,” updated by Kyle Zinth, September 2009. There are a variety of opinions on this topic, including on how small is small enough and whether class size reduction is cost effective.
 Digest of Education Statistics, 2009. Table 79.
 New Jersey enrollment is projected to drop 2.4 percent over roughly the next decade (2006 – 2018). U.S. Department of Education, NCES, Common Core of Data surveys and State Public Elementary and Secondary Enrollment Model.
 For example, eliminating opposition to consolidation of two or more municipal or school district administrative structures may require generous compensation to people whose jobs are eliminated in the short run, in order to garner salary savings from consolidation in the long run. Or the consolidation of municipalities and the streamlining of services may require the building of one fire station, library, or other facility near the current border of the areas, in order to close two other facilities that have been serving each community. A cap can prevent these types of facilitating changes.