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1-9-12 Lame Duck Voting Update: The Senate (Monday before 6 PM )
Politickernj.com - Senate passes bill moving school elections to November...TRENTON - Senate Bill 3148, which would move School Board elections from April to the date of the November general election, easily passed on third reading today in the senate by a vote of 34-3

Star Ledger - N.J. Senate approves Christie-backed bill to allow private companies to manage schools in poor cities

Politickernj.com - Senate passes bill moving school elections to November

By Max Pizarro | January 9th, 2012 - 4:31pm

TRENTON - Senate Bill 3148, which would move School Board elections from April to the date of the November general election, easily passed on third reading today in the senate by a vote of 34-3.

 

 

Star Ledger - N.J. Senate approves Christie-backed bill to allow private companies to manage schools in poor cities

Published: Monday, January 09, 2012, 5:31 PM Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 5:31 PM

By Jessica Calefati/The Star-LedgerThe Star-Ledger

TRENTON — A bill backed by Gov. Chris Christie that allows private companies to build and manage up to a dozen public schools in three of the state’s poorest cities was approved by the state Senate 34-3 today.

Known as the Urban Hope Act, the bill gives businesses unprecedented control over public education in Newark, Camden and Trenton, districts where school construction has ground to a halt in recent years.

If it passes today in the Assembly, as expected, the bill will become Christie’s signature education reform achievement since declaring one year ago that 2011 would be "the year of education reform."

The Schools Development Authority is responsible for construction in these and other low-income districts, but dozens of projects have been stalled since Christie took office – and no schools have been built to replace those that are crumbling or overcrowded.

"We have spent enough money and endured enough failure, especially in our urban districts," state Sen. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), the legislation’s sponsor, said last week. "It’s time to do things differently in a limited, focused way."

Nonprofit operators interested in starting up to four new schools, called "renaissance school projects," must apply to the state Department of Education and demonstrate experience working in a "high-risk, low-income urban district," according to the bill (S3173).

RELATED COVERAGE:
Braun: New kind of N.J. school privatization on the rise

Braun: NJEA support for private management of public schools displays weakness, cynicism

Once nonprofits earn state approval, they are free to contract with businesses to purchase land, construct facilities or manage schools. They are not required to follow public bidding laws or collective bargaining agreements struck by teachers unions in the eligible cities.

Among the bill’s advocates is a former opponent — and frequent Christie target — the New Jersey Education Association.

The state’s largest teachers union had called the legislation a veiled effort to "funnel tax dollars" to the private sector. But last week, union president Barbara Keshishian released a statement endorsing the act.

"NJEA supports this legislation because it allows for innovation while providing meaningful public accountability," Keshishian said. "It is a creative expansion of public school choice that uses public funds to support public education."

Related topics: chris-christie, njea

 


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