Timeline of Kingsway's Fight
Kingsway joins Newton School District in Petitioning Commissioner of Education for Equitably Allocation of School Aid
December 21, 2017
State of New Jersey Government Shutdown over School Funding
June 30, 2017
Kingsway contingent testifies before Assembly Budget Committee at Rowan University
March 22, 2013
Kingsway adopts tentative 2017-18 School Budget
March 16, 2013
Governor Christie releases another round of flat state aid.
March 2, 2017
Kingsway officials join officials from Cherry Hiill, Newton, Edison, Chesterfield and other school districts at Trenton's State House to discuss school funding.
February 7, 2017
Kingsway announces that it will petition Supreme Court to compel State Legislature to fund SFRA and render "hold harmless" unconstitutional.
January 27, 2017
Lavender joins Superintendents in Trenton to discuss school funding initiative; NJASA endorses Senate Bill 2372
September 23, 2016
Senate President Sweeney holds fair funding forum at Kingsway with Kingsway officials
July 13, 2016
SEGA continues to benefit our districts since it was included as a permanent budget appropriation in FY13. Since adoption of SEGA, supplemental enrollment growth aid totals $12.9M collectively for Kingsway and her sending elementary school districts. This is a testament to what our community can do when they are united and pressure law makers in Trenton
February 16, 2016
Schimpf meets with Assistant Commissioner Bob Bumpus to discuss school funding
September 3, 2015
Kingsway leaders join Woodbury and other school officials on "underfund us equally" forum. Kingsway poorest funded school in Gloucester County
May 4, 2015
Kingsway officials meet with Senate President Sweeney and Education Commissioner Chris Cerf to discuss Kingsway funding crisis
February 26, 2014
Lavender, Mueller meet with Senate President Sweeney to advocate fair funding
January 8, 2014
State Aid includes SEGA funds for FY15 and becomes annual budget appropriation. This is the result of constant pressure on the legislature and support of Senate President Steve Sweeney. Kingsway and her sending elementary schools will collectively receive $2.56M annually.
February 27, 2013
Supplemental Enrollment Growth Aid (SEGA) (Senate Bill 1792) passed! Kingsway and her sending elementary schools would receive the following amounts: Kingsway $921,670; Swedesboro-Woolwich $963,615; South Harrison $149,760; and, East Greenwich $539,780. This is the direct result of an intense grass-roots movement designed to pressure the Governor and Legislature. Jennifer Cavallaro was a driving force behind this legislation becoming law. Read the Philly.com article here.
August 8, 2012
Kingsway hosts fair funding rally to packed audience at Eitel Theater. Purpose is to energize and mobilize community regarding unfair funding issue
May 8, 2012
Fair Funding Action Committee Meets and plans community-wide petition to solicit a grass-roots movement aimed at bringing attention to unfair funding issue by directing community members to reach out to Governor Christie and 3rd District Legislators. Fair Funding Rally planned
April 19, 2012
Fair Funding Action Committee meets at Kingsway to discuss educating community about funding crisis
March 22, 2012
Fair Funding Action Committee Organized by School Officials, Board of Education Members, Mayors and Community Leaders. Purpose is to bring attention to unfair funding of the Swedesboro-Woolwich, East Greenwich, South Harrison and Kingsway Regional Schools
March 1, 2012
Cerf's Education Funding Report released
February 23, 2012
Lavender meets with Acting Commissioner Cerf to advocate fair funding. Gov. Christie's Annual Budget Address provides no relief to Kingsway Regional and sending elementary districts
February 21, 2012
Kingsway officials meet with 3rd District Legislators to advocate School Funding
January 28, 2012
Cavallaro receives apology call from Christie aid telling her that the Governor (pocket) vetoed legislation designed to assist the Swedesboro-Woolwich and Kingsway Regional School Districts. Read Philly.com Feb. 19th article here
Fiscal Impact Study concludes that due to debt service consolidation of Kingsway and elementary school districts would not net any financial savings nor would it ease tax burden on respective communities. Recommendation is to explore shared service over consolidation. Summary of tax implications can be found here
December 15, 2011
Kingsway and Sending Districts meet to discuss consolidation of schools and progress on fiscal impact study
August 16, 2011
Senate Bill 2868 Amended to include Kingsway
May 25, 2011
Kingsway successfully argues 13.02% enrollment increase from '08 - '11 qualifies for Enrollment Growth Aid (SEGA)
May 15, 2011
Enrollment Growth Bill (Senate Bill 2868) introduced to Senate
May 12, 2011
Kingsway initiates Fiscal Impact Study to determine if consolidation of the Regional High School District and elementary sending schools would solve fiscal crisis. Committee is comprised of Superintendents from each of the 4 School Districts and several board of education members and paid consultant John Knorr. Cost of study is shared among Districts equitably
May 10, 2011
Kingsway passes first school budget in four years, restores host of co-curricular programs, late bus and middle school and freshman sports program
April 28, 2011
Cavallaro and 50 community members attend Governor's Town Hall Meeting in Hammonton. Christie called out Cavallaro and friends who were seated in the front row. Christie told the audience that if Senate President Sweeney sponsored a bill for a "fix," he promised he would consider signing that legislation. This legislation would later become known as SEGA and would eventually pass in August 2012. Christie would (pocket) veto the initial bill and publicly criticize Sweeney for passing a bill to spend money that the State hadn't budgeted. Swedesboro-Woolwich and Kingsway school leaders would call out Christie for going back on his promise. Read the article published in The Current here
March 29, 2011
Kingsway meets with 3rd District Legislators to discuss funding crisis
February 12, 2011
Jennifer Cavallaro, (Board Member for the Swedesboro-Woolwich School District) attends Governor's Town Hall Meeting in Chesilhurst and personally asks Christie to fund our schools. Cavallaro would attend nine of the Governor's Town Hall Meetings between 2011 and 2012 pushing fair funding for our schools
Swedesboro Mayor Tom Fromm calls for meeting with meet with Regina Egea, former Chief of Staff to the State Treasurer to discuss funding crisis in schools. In attendance are former Deputy Mayor of Woolwich Twp. Jim Lavender and former Kingsway Superintendent Ave Altersitz meet with Regina Egea, former Chief of Staff to the State Treasurer to discuss funding crisis in schools
May 21, 2010
May 17, 2010
Gloucester County Times, 9/2/2011
OPED - Lavender, 4/16/10
History of Fair Funding Fight
Kingsway’s quest for fair funding has been a focus and priority for more than a decade. When the State developed the present School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) Kingsway’s student enrollment boomed. Every year since 2008 enrolment has grown by close to five percent a year. These enrollment increases have increased the pressure on the District’s ability to deliver the services it needs to ensure every student is provided the thorough and efficiently education they deserve and have been constitutionally guaranteed.
Every year after implementation of SFRA the State has failed to fund our schools. We were fortunate in 2012 to have led a grass roots campaign that resulted in passage of the supplemental enrollment growth aid (SEGA) legislation, with the support and advocacy of Senate President Steve Sweeney. Although the SEGA money helped, it fell woefully short of our needs.
“As a District we are managed efficiently and are the lowest budgetary spending per pupil regional school system in the State of NJ. (Cost per pupil for the 2015-16 school year totaled $10,537),” said School Business Administrator Jason Schimpf.
Aside from keeping a lid on expenses, Kingsway has become a leader in shared services, having generated more than $600,000 in FY16 while providing an exceptional school system. Recently Kingsway was recognized on the College Board’s AP Honor Roll for increased access to advanced placement course; takes the lead on high school graduation rates among all Gloucester County High Schools; is a trend setter when it comes to two- and four-year colleges and universities through its Academy Program option; and, was recently ranked in the top one third of all highs schools (111 of 337) in the State of NJ by NJ Monthly. This ranking puts Kingsway ahead of all high school’s in Gloucester and Salem Counties and among the best in Camden and Burlington County.
“We take great pride in our success and are proud to be managed well,” added Patricia Calandro, Chief Academic Officer. But while class sizes continue to swell and our administrative team depleted, our programs cut, we can’t provide as many academic courses to our students as the schools across the county.”
“We believe that state aid should be distributed fairly and equitably based on a formula that takes into account each town’s property tax base, its ability to pay, increases and decreases in enrollment, and the special needs of our children,” said Superintendent Dr. James J. Lavender. “This reform plan will help Kingsway and other communities provide a quality education while protecting local tax payers. Its’ a strong step in the right direction.”
"Kingsway is the lowest spending regional school district in the entire State of NJ and we are proud to have the highest high school graduation rates in Gloucester County. At Kingsway, it's our mission to deliver high quality programs in a cost-effective way. We are the poster child of doing more with less. However, without help from the State, program quality is in jeopardy for all of our schools.
Over the last five years enrollment at Kingsway has increased by 13% while State aid has risen only 1% over that same period of time. While property taxes for the regional district have increased by 29%. After factoring in Kingsway's most recent building project, property taxes increased by 35%. State aid is up 1% while local property taxes are up 35%. Ladies and gentleman, the problem is not how much we spend but rather that the state refuses to recognize the unrelenting growth we've been dealing with in our communities for over a decade. The burden of funding our schools has been unfairly shifted to all of you as taxpayers and we have had enough."
Dr. James J. Lavender, Superintendent
Opening remarks at the Fair Funding Rally and are more true today then when they were spoken on
May 8, 2012