12-18-17 Education in the News

Star Ledger--Teachers accused of sexual misconduct keep getting jobs in N.J. Here's why

The little girls would hold his hand and sit on his lap.

They would kiss their first-grade teacher, and he would kiss them back.

Keep it a secret, he warned the 5- and 6-year olds. Otherwise, he said, they could get into trouble.

This alarming behavior, according to court documents, was no secret to Montville Township school administrators, who warned the teacher, Jason Fennes, to stop having physical contact with the children. Fennes' "inappropriate interactions with students" even cost him a raise.

Five years after the first documented complaints, Montville suspended Fennes and he resigned. But when a private school 40 minutes away called to confirm Fennes' employment dates, Montville school officials were bound by a separation agreement. They could make no mention of the kisses, the hand-holding or parents' complaints that the first-grade teacher touched their little girls too often.


Adam Clark and Jessica Remo, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|


Education Week--Final Tax Bill Keeps Teacher Deduction at $250, Cuts State and Local Deductions


After extensive negotiations, a congressional conference committee has agreed to a final tax reform bill that could impact state and local funding and teachers' pocketbooks, as well as school choice. The legislation still needs to be passed by both the House and Senate and be signed into law by President Donald Trump, who wants a tax bill to sign before Christmas. Here are a few key details we know about it:

State and Local Tax Deductions

The final legislation allow taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 in either a combination of property and income taxes, or property and sales taxes. (See page 81 of the bill's joint explanatory statement at the link above.) Both the bills previously passed by the House and Senate would have allowed people to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes, but not income or sales taxes.

Reducing the amount of state and local taxes people can deduct could exert significant pressure on some states and communities to reduce their own taxes, and therefore reduce revenue available for funding for schools. We discussed this on a recent episode of Education Writers Association radio

"We lost a policy fight. Our schools and students lose more," said Noelle Ellerson Ng, the associate executive director of AASA, the School Superintendents Association, which along with other state and local groups sought to keep the current deductibility of state and local taxes. 


Andrew Ujifusa on December 15, 2017 5:57 PM