Dr. Leila Sadeghi Works to Mitigate NJ’s Fiscal Future
New Jersey’s fiscal crisis, and the two-percent property-tax cap imposed by the current administration, undoubtedly affects all levels of state, municipal government and school districts.
“Faced with a reduction in state aid, few entities are implementing cost-saving strategies that can create lasting change,” said Dr. Leila Sadeghi, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership.
In response to this complex issue, Sadeghi and researchers from Rutgers University have undertaken Facing Our Future, a two-phase study to determine if the budget shortfall will exist, and to what extent, in five years.
“Our research goal is to assess the ongoing economic implications of these cuts and to broaden the understanding of how our local governments and school districts can continue to sustain services in light of the growing financial strain,” said Sadeghi.
The projections from Phase I utilized 2010 budget data that predicts, by 2016, New Jersey could face a shortfall of up to $10.3 billion for the state government, $2.75 billion for municipalities, and more than $1 billion for school districts.
According to the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, “As a state – and as citizens – we can no longer sustain New Jersey’s antiquated system for raising and spending money at all levels of government. The effect on public services – including schools, public safety, transportation and healthcare – is severe and will be felt by virtually everyone in New Jersey.”
The second phase of the research, currently being explored, utilizes 2011 budget data and extends the projections through 2017.
“Our goal for Phase II is to determine if the gap trend is increasing or is fairly consistent, and whether our projections are accurate,” said Sadeghi. “Our research findings demonstrate strong interest in sharing services and consolidation as a way to achieve cost savings.”
The research team also worked with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities to develop a survey for municipal administrators that will help determine alternative strategies such as sharing services and consolidation that are being considered in light of the budgetary problems at the local level.
Sadeghi and her colleagues were invited to present their findings at the annual Korean Association of Public Administration conference in Seoul, Korea, in October 2011.
To view the full Facing Our Future report, please visit the following link on the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers (CNJG) website. To view the preliminary findings report, please visit the 2011 Municipal Management Survey.
Sadeghi received her Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy from Rutgers-Newark in 2008. She has been involved in numerous research projects focusing on public administration and local school district funding. Her research and publications also focus on the utilization of new media technologies on citizen participation and student learning. For more information, please contact Dr. Sadeghi at email@example.com.