|3-6-17 Education in the News|
NJ Spotlight--Unfunded Liability of Public-Employee Pension System Closes in on $50 Billion
Lowering rate of return on fund investments will help, but some experts argue full actuarial payments — not called for in Christie budget address — remain critical
New actuarial calculations for New Jersey’s beleaguered public-employee pension system show an unfunded liability of near $50 billion, a staggering number for a retirement plan that’s been set up to cover roughly 780,000 current and retired government workers.
But many financial experts believe the pension system’s funding problem is potentially much worse, because the state has for decades been using optimistic assumptions when it comes to projecting annual investment returns.
John Reitmeyer | March 6, 2017
The Record--Students say the state has shorted Clifton schools $50 million each of the last nine years
CLIFTON – More than 300 high school students are expected to protest the state's school funding formula in Wednesday's march which will begin at the high school and end at City Hall.
Students said they want the event to send a message to New Jersey lawmakers that they won't stand for the funding shortfall any more.
According to Department of Education data, the Clifton school system receives about one-third, of the $75 million the district is entitled to receive in state funding. The district has not received its full state aid entitlement since 2008, adding up to about $450 million in under-aided dollars, according to school officials.
Carlos Polanco, president of the Clifton High School Student Union, has been steadfast in his efforts to enact changes to the current model.
Tony Gicas , Staff Writer| 3:09 p.m. ET March 4, 2017
The Press of Atlantic City--School buses in New Jersey still don't have safety sensors
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — More than a year after a law was signed requiring them, child-detection sensors are still not installed on most new school buses because regulations on how to implement it have not been approved.
Gov. Chris Christie signed Abigail's Law in January 2016. It requires that all school buses manufactured after July 17, 2016, come equipped with child detection sensors that would sound an alarm if a child were to run in front of or behind the bus.
The law is named after 2-year-old Abigail Kuberiet, who was killed while crossing in front of a school bus in 2003. Earlier bills failed largely due to the lack of technology at the time, but the final bill in 2015 earned widespread support.
The Press of Atlantic City (http://bit.ly/2mQJrHn) reports that the Department of Education sent a memo to school district administrators in May saying it was working with the state Motor Vehicle Commission to develop the regulations, and until then, manufacturers should "comply with the statute's requirements as they see fit."
DIANE D'AMICO The Press of Atlantic City| Mar 4, 2017
Education Week--Two Possible Paths for a Tax-Credit School Choice Plan in Congress
Of the various school choice bills that might enter the arena in Congress, creating tax credits to fund private school choice might be the most logical, and it's one of the options the Trump administration is considering.
There's already a recent blueprint for such tax credits in the form of a 2015 bill, the Educational Opportunities Act, written by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. And in his address to Congress Feb. 28, President Donald Trump specifically urged lawmakers to take up school choice legislation to help disadvantaged children, which could impact the policy specifics of any tax-credit bill.
But here's a major X-factor for creating federally backed tax-credit scholarships: Congress probably wouldn't use the House and Senate education committees to advance any tax-credit scholarship plan, according to two people we talked to. And it likely wouldn't be proposed in a standalone bill. There are probably two feasible paths for Washington to create a federally backed tax-credit program.
A tax-credit school choice plan could be part of a major tax-reform plan, according to Christopher Cross, a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and Republican staffer in Congress who now runs an education consulting firm. That means the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees would be the ones dealing with education tax credits as part of any tax-reform plan, which the Trump administration and other conservatives have been discussing publicly for some time.
By Andrew Ujifusa on March 2, 2017 8:00 AM
Garden State Coalition of Schools