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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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4-11-13 News from the Assembly Budget hearing on the Department of Education Budget for FY'14
GSCS Note 4-11-13: During the Assembly Budget Committee hearing on the Department of Education budget this afternoon, Commissioner Cerf said he would support a ‘legislative champion’ to seek lifting restrictive limits on administrative spending caps, in light of safety needs for School Resource Officers(SRO’s) and the additional administrative costs required in new evaluations process.

Politickernj-State Street Wire - Cerf, lawmakers spar ovr debt service in FY14

Politickernj-State Street Wire - Webber: Issue of overcharged 'sending' school districts needs to be addressed

GSCS Note 4-11-13: During the Assembly Budget Committee hearing on the Department of Education budget this afternoon, Commissioner Cerf said he would support a ‘legislative champion’ to seek lifting restrictive limits on administrative spending caps, in light of safety needs for School Resource Officers(SRO’s) and the additional administrative costs required in new evaluations process.

 

Politickernj-State Street Wire - Cerf, lawmakers spar over debt service in FY14

By State Street Wire Staff | April 11th, 2013 - 11:38am

 

TRENTON – The state Education Commissioner told Assembly lawmakers Thursday that the Christie administration has in the past two years increased school choice and reformed teacher evaluations, and in fiscal year 2014 will provide more state aid funding than ever.

Commissioner Chris Cerf told the Budget Committee that the administration will increase state aid by $97 million, provide a $5 million innovation fund to reward districts that address problems such as low graduation rates, and $2 million to allow students in chronically failing schools to attend schools elsewhere.

Funding of the former so-called Abbott districts, a longstanding controversy, will break down this way in FY14:  Average state aid is $5,881 per pupil; for non-Abbotts $3,291; and for the former Abbotts, $15,261.

The Abbotts are approximately 31 poorer districts whose students the courts ruled were receiving unconstitutionally substandard education.

“Recognize that how well education dollars are spent is as important as  how much is spent and changing the way money is spent is by far the most important means of actually changing behavior in schools and ensuring that all students, regardless of birth circumstances, graduate from high school ready for college and career,” Cerf said.

“We have allowed ourselves to be boxed into a corner, that you can ‘dollarize’ education,’’ Cerf said.

Despite Cerf championing Gov. Chris Christie’s efforts to increase school choice and stimulate achievement through charters or vouchers, Democrats criticized what they said are failures in various areas.

Chairman Vincent Prieto, D-32, Secaucus pointed out that Education is the largest portion of the budget, that tax increases are a net 20 percent higher for working-class residents under this administration, yet some 200 districts will see less money due to cuts in aid for debt service.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli hammered at this point, that some 270 districts will be hurt by debt service assessments and will face tough choices about raising taxes.

“We are assessing more money than we anticipated,’’ he said.

Yet Cerf said to focus on the larger picture, that the state is providing more aid than ever.

 

Politickernj-State Street Wire - Webber: Issue of overcharged 'sending' school districts needs to be addressed

By State Street Wire Staff | April 11th, 2013 - 12:53pm

TRENTON – The problem of school districts that send students to other districts being charged too much tuition was discussed at today’s Assembly Budget Committee hearing.

Assemblyman Jay Webber raised the issue during questioning of the fiscal year 2014 budget request for the Education Department.

Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf acknowledged it is a problem that is increasing in frequency.

The issue is that all school districts have to live within the 2 percent tax cap increase.

Webber said, however, that some receiving districts are charging the sending district higher rates than they should be, leaving the sending district squeezed.

“This is a growing concern for a lot of towns, especially smaller towns,’’ Webber said.

He suggested that maybe Cerf could limit such increases to an appropriate level, but Cerf said that as things now stand he lacks the authority.

Webber suggested a legislative remedy may be the way to go, and Cerf said he may be able to issue some guidance to districts or county superintendents.

“It doesn’t sond like it would be a difficult exercise,’’ Webber said. “This is the maximum tuition increase a sending district should see.’’

And with additional authority granted by the Legislature at some point, the problem may be addressed, he indicated.

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828