Adding It All Up: New Jersey’s Opportunity to Reduce $200 Million in School Transportation Costs

The second in a five-part series focusing on the true size of New Jersey’s expansive government, how much is being spent in specific categories and, most importantly, identifying opportunities where it can be made more efficient.

Our second installment is dedicated to a data-driven analysis on the state’s student transportation expenses and recommendations to achieve savings of $200 million.

Read a copy of the report below, or click here for a downloadable version.

Some key takeaways from the report:

  • At a cost of $1.2 billion, New Jersey transports nearly three quarters of a million students daily at an average cost of $1,508 per pupil, representing one of the largest outside-the-classroom costs for hundreds of school districts.

  • The statewide average does not illuminate the considerable variation among school districts:

    • the middle 50 percent of school districts spend between $1,160 and $3,361 per student and more than 37 school districts spend over $10,000 per student transported.

  • Based on a model that compares school districts on a level playing field, if every district were able to make meaningful improvement relative to where they’re starting from, they could save close to $200 million overall on transportation costs. But, if every school district just spent at the expected amount predicted by their fundamental characteristics, taxpayers would save $146 million.

  • We offer a key series of cost saving strategies and recommendations based on best practices from other states such as Maryland and North Carolina, which transport students at costs 30 and 46 percent less than New Jersey, respectively, as well as other existing policies from the state Department of Education.

Adding It All Up: An Impartial Look at NJ’s $117 Billion Government

The first in a five-part series focusing on the true size of New Jersey’s expansive government, how much is being spent in specific categories and, most importantly, identifying opportunities where it can be made more efficient.

Our first installment is dedicated to capturing the true size and cost of New Jersey’s government.

Read a copy of the report below, or click here for a downloadable version.

Some key takeaways from the report:

·The consolidated cost of government services in NJ is $117 billiontriple the size of the annual state budget.

·That $117 billion funds 1,522 government entities – one government entity for every 6,000 New Jersey residents.

·At 22%, public employee benefits are the largest expenditure category for the state – well exceeding health care and transportation.

·Property tax collections of $28 billion account for 24% of all revenue collected and dwarf the next two largest revenue sources, which are the $14 billion each from Income Tax and Federal Aid.

With the raging debate regarding NJ’s total tax burden we’re not looking to take an axe to indiscriminately cut spending, but rather, offering practical solutions that will maintain the quality of services offered and save $1 billion tax dollars.In coming weeks, we will issue additional reports related to specific areas of government spending and how to achieve realistic savings.