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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608


10-20-16 Education in the News

Officials rally at Trenton school to urge testing for lead poisoning

TRENTON – Local political leaders, educators, and representatives from nonprofit organizations gathered at a city school Wednesday to express support for legislation that calls for mandatory testing for lead in school drinking water.

The legislation, (A-3539/S-2082) sponsored by Assemblywoman Liz Muoio and Sen. Shirley Turner (Mercer) would also make disclosing the results mandatory.

The city's schools have recently come under scrutiny for 20 buildings having high lead levels.

"Unfortunately the results from last week, while very disturbing, are not surprising," Muoio said in the courtyard of Grace A. Dunn Middle School in Trenton. "We have aging infrastructure throughout our state and this has effects."

"Throughout the state we have school districts where lead poisoning levels in the blood are higher than those experienced in Flint," Muoio said. "There's no safe level of level of lead in the blood, its a cumulative effect — the younger (you are) the more vulnerable you are."

Elyse Pivnick, a lead specialist at Isles — a Trenton-based nonprofit — championed the legislation explaining that the current methods of testing for lead in water ends when the water leaves the treatment plant.

"No one ever thought to check what happens between the treatment plant and school," Pivnick said.

Turner (D-Mercer) explained that exposure to lead can lead to behavior problems, shortened attention spans and developmental disabilities.

"A lead poisoned child is seven times more likely to drop out of school," Ann Vardeman of New Jersey Citizen Action said. "A lead poisoned child is six times more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system."


Greg Wright | For NJ.com |October 19, 2016 at 3:48 PM, updated October 19, 2016 at 5:43 PM


Education Week--National School Spending Inches Up to $623 Billion, Says Recent Federal Data

Spending on the nation's public schools has gone up slightly, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, with state spending on K-12 increasing at exactly the same rate as federal spending has gone down.

In a blog post published last Friday, NCES reported that the amount of money spent per pupil in elementary and secondary schools rose by 1.2 percent from fiscal 2013 to fiscal 2014, up to $11,066 per student, after declining from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2013. (Hat-tip to Mike Zinshteyn at the Education Writers Association.)

Spending from federal, state, and local resources totaled $623 billion in fiscal 2014. From fiscal 2013 to fiscal 2014, state revenues for schools rose by 3.9 percent, from $278 billion to $288 billion, while federal revenue dipped by 3.9 percent, from $57 billion to $56 billion, according to the post written by Stephen Q. Cornman and Lauren Musu-Gillette. Local spending rose by 0.5 percent, from $279 billion to $281 billion. 

The recent NCES report is based on the National Public Education Finance Survey and NCES' Common Core of Data. The figures NCES uses are adjusted for inflation.

The share of education spending coming from Washington continues to decline since the Great Recession: It dropped from 13 percent in fiscal 2011, when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (commonly known as the stimulus) was in full swing, to just under 9 percent in fiscal 2014.


Andrew Ujifusa on October 19, 2016 7:49 AM


Washington Post--These states are spending less on education now than before the Great Recession

This 2015 file photo shows a vacant classroom at Southwestern High School in Detroit, where schools have faced a fiscal crisis. Michigan is among the states spending less now on education than before the recession. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

When the Great Recession hit, states trimmed — and in some cases slashed — their budgets for public services, including for education. As the recession ended and the economy improved, some states began restoring funds to schools. But by 2014, 35 states were still spending less per student than they did in 2008, before the recession took hold, according to a report released Thursday.

Data for total state education spending in the current school year isn’t yet available. But looking just at general (or “formula”) funding, which comprises the bulk of education spending in most states, 23 states are continuing to spend less per student in the 2016-2017 school year than they were in 2008, according to the report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank.

In too many states, “public investment in K-12 schools, which are crucial for communities to thrive and the U.S. economy to offer broad opportunity, has declined dramatically in recent years,” said Michael Leachman, a co-author of the report.


Emma Brown October 20 at 12:01 AM


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608