|8-22-16 Education in the News|
Star Ledger--Why public pre-K programs could die under Christie plan
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie once compared New Jersey's state-funded pre-kindergarten program to government babysitting. Now, he's proposing a divisive school funding proposal that threatens to destroy it.
Christie in June introduced a major school funding overhaul that calls for redistributing the state's $9.1 billion in direct school aid equally per student.
If that plan, which takes money from urban districts and gives to many suburban districts, gets approved, Christie would not protect the $653 million currently spent on full-day preschool for three and four years olds, he said earlier this month.
That means that the $86 million in preschool funding to Newark, $44 million to Elizabeth, $29 million to Trenton and millions more to other urban and low-income districts would be among the billions sent to suburban towns for property tax relief.
Without direct funding, the preschool programs in urban districts are unlikely to be spared from the massive budgets cuts Christie's plan would necessitate, said John Donahue, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials.
Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| August 22, 2016 at 7:35 AM
The Record--Cost of potential allergy lifesaver EpiPen is skyrocketing
As parents check off items on the back-to-school list, many are suffering sticker shock at the price increase for EpiPens, potentially lifesaving devices that counter an allergic reaction — and that now cost more than $600.
Several factors have contributed to the pinch patients are feeling: There is no generic equivalent for EpiPens, the only competitor was taken off the market last year, and changes to high-deductible insurance plans mean much higher out-of-pocket costs for many, experts say.
A prescription cost $57 in 2007. Now sold in packages of two, EpiPens cost more than $600 for the two-pack, even though a dose of the drug itself costs less than $2, North Jersey physicians say.
“More and more parents are complaining over the last month that the cost of EpiPens has gone through the roof, making it very difficult,” said Dr. David Namerow, a Fair Lawn pediatrician.
“They seem to be taking advantage of the most vulnerable kids with food allergies, and the parents have no alternative,” he said.
The device allows a person to inject a dose of epinephrine — also known as adrenaline — into the thigh to stop a potentially life-threatening reaction to peanuts, eggs, other foods or insect bites. The severe reaction is known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms include swelling of the lips or tongue, shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness and worse.
On Saturday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the price increase.
“Patients all over the U.S. rely on these products, including my own daughter,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “Not only should the Judiciary Committee hold a hearing, the Federal Trade Commission should investigate these price increases immediately.
By MARY JO LAYTON|Staff Writer | The Record
Philadelphia Inquirer--N.J. bill would require naloxone in high schools
A New Jersey assemblyman plans to introduce legislation to require high schools to carry naloxone, which can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.
School nurses would administer the opioid antidote under the proposal from Atlantic County Democrat Vincent Mazzeo.
Mazzeo said Friday that he did not propose the measure in response to students overdosing in school. He said the state needs to be "proactive" in preventing heroin deaths.
"It's a very good tool in saving lives," Mazzeo said of naloxone, noting that emergency medical technicians and police carry it.
Gov. Christie has backed initiatives to increase the availability of naloxone, known as Narcan and other trade names, in the state, including training and equipping police and first responders to administer the antidote, and providing immunity to first responders who administer it.
Mazzeo's proposal, which would apply to both public and private high schools, would provide immunity to school nurses and other school employees.
The bill would require the state Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Human Services and medical experts, to provide guidelines for mandatory training of school nurses and other designated employees to administer the antidote.
Maddie Hanna, Staff Writer| Updated: August 20, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT
Garden State Coalition of Schools