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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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A Selection - GSCS in the News

Garden State Coalition of Schools/GSCS                                                                                                    5/20/14

A Selection:  GSCS speaks for you in the media and in Trenton

 GSCS FYI on www.gscschools.org
GSCS Gets Your Message Out - In addition to members and interested citizens, GSCS sends information from its website  www.gscschools.org  and its GSCS Email-Net newsletter updates  to the Statehouse - legislative and executive branch officials and staff -  as well as to the media, on a regular basis...

5-2-14, Press of Atlantic City:  "Fully funding New Jersey schools would cost state extra $1B"

" . . . Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents largely suburban districts, said the information is valuable to have, but she does not know if the formula, should it be enforced in court, would apply to all schools or just the 31 urban districts in the original Abbott vs, Burke lawsuit. 

 

" 'The court has said before that it could only address Abbotts, so we don't really know if (the justices) could say the formula now applies to everyone,' she said. 

 

". . . Strickland said not everyone supported the funding formula, and there are still questions about the disparities in how much money districts receive in the base or 'equalization' aid that is calculated using a combination of factors including enrollment and wealth.   That aid makes up about $6 billion of the almost $8 billion in direct state aid to schools.

 

" 'But there are some districts (that) get none,' Strickland said of the equalization aid.  'How do we balance this?' "

 

4-30-14, NJ Spotlight:  "Another State Task Force, Another Look at Special Education in NJ"

“ . . . One member of the previous state task force, who also was appointed to the new panel, said she hopes it will heed lessons from previous efforts.  'I would hope that it can narrow its focus and come up with practical recommendations that have a real potential for working,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.

 

"When asked if there was one over-arching lesson to be learned from past efforts, Strickland said: 'Don't try to tackle everything at once.' . . . "

 

2-26-14, NJ Spotlight:  “Schools Grateful for Slightly More State Aid Tucked Into Tight Budget”

“ . . . ‘In some respects, it's the most friendly budget we've had under Christie,’ said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, the suburban schools group.  ‘Compared to what we were expecting . .. ,’ she said, her voice trailing off.  ‘I mean, we knew the realities.’ . . ."

 

2-12-14, The Record:  “Full plate awaits New Jersey's next education chief”

" . . . ‘You have to have someone who can jump in and run the ship with an in-depth understanding of how it works,’ said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools . . ."

 

1-19-14, Star Ledger:  “Longer school day? No way, many parents and students say” 

“ . . . ‘What are we looking to improve?  Parents, teachers and administrators will have many questions, and many opinions,’ said Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  ‘It's going to require an in-depth conversation,’ she said, listing issues like contract negotiations, facility upgrades to handle summer temperatures and community goals that would have to be worked out.  ‘Time is money, and the state is short of funding as it is’ . . ."

 

Aired on 1-15-14, An NJTV interview with GSCS Executive Director Lynne Strickland and GSCS Officer & Freehold Regional High School District Superintendent Chuck Sampson regarding the governor's proposal to extend the school day and school year

 

1-15-14, NJ Spotlight:  “Christie Calls for Longer School Day, Calendar in State of the State”

“. . . ‘It really needs to be fleshed out,‘ said Lynne Strickland, director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, the suburban schools group.  ‘Will it be required, will it be a local option, how will you determine the need?’ she said.  ‘What about the cost on all levels?’. . ."

 

1-6-14, NJ Spotlight:  “Education Issues Will Help Shape Christie's Second Term -- and Political Future”

" . . . ‘Funding is going to be really stressed, given the realities of the pension payback,’ said Lynne Strickland, director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, a suburban school group.  ‘There is a serious pressure cap on that.’. . . Strickland said she hopes school districts will . . . get some help in addressing rising special-education costs. . . .”

 

11-15-13, New Jersey Newsroom:  “N.J. Looks into Implementing Full-Day Kindergarten”

". . . The task force would be comprised of . . . the Garden State Coalition of Schools . . . “

 

6-19-13, The Record:  “N.J. moving ahead with plan to link test scores to teacher evaluations”

“ . . . many district leaders say it's hard to grapple with so many changes at once.  Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents mostly suburban districts, said her members hoped for a delay.  She said most saw benefits in the overhaul but had concerns about launching it properly and finding time for more frequent, in-depth classroom observations.  'It would be a relief if they could have a year to put it in place and work out the kinks,' she said. . . . "

 

3-1-13, NJ Spotlight:  "Gov. Chris Christie's election-year state aid package for New Jersey's public schools looks like it has a little bit for almost everyone -- or at least not any less for anyone.”

“. . . 'Overall, people are relieved that funding is stabilized with flat funding at the very least, and increases for districts, such as those that are at 10 percent or more under adequacy is important,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'Being that it is an election year as well, we are optimistic these aid levels will not be lessened and may even be increased under the legislative process with the Appropriations Act for FY14,' she added."

 

2-27-13, The Record:  "Christie budget includes $97M more for N.J. schools, but critics warn it's far from enough"

Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents mostly suburban systems, said, 'Districts were worried about losing aid, so this puts that concern aside, but we do need to take a good look at how it's laid out district by district.' . . . "

 

2-25-13, NJ Spotlight:  "Christie and Co. Keep Tight Lid On Education Funding in State Budget

“ . . . 'What we need and hope for is at least stable funding so that schools don't fall backwards,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'We hope for some increase, but we are not speculating beyond that,' she said.  'We're realists.’ . . .  "

 

2-20-13, Philadelphia Inquirer:  "NJ Legislature looking at requiring all schools to offer full-day kindergarten classes"

" . . . No cost estimate for the proposed mandate has been calculated.  'It really needs to be addressed, because it's such a large stumbling block,' said Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, an advocacy group for suburban districts. 'Thinking districts will be able to take this on with the 2 percent tax cap is wishful thinking.'  .  .  . “

 

2-12-13, Politickernj-State Street Wire:  "Full day kindergarten a great, but possibly costly, idea"

However, Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition said while she is supportive of the concept, she is worried about the costs.  'It really needs to be addressed because it's such a large stumbling block,' . . . To help find ways, she suggested creating a task force. . . . Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-40) agreed with her . . . “

 

12-26-12, Press of Atlantic City:  "Aid squeeze looks likely for schools in South Jersey"

". . . Lynne Strickland, of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which is made up largely of suburban districts, said they are concerned about the proposal that would raise the cost threshold at which districts could request extra funds for special-education placements.  The current threshold is $40,000 for public placements and $55,000 for private placements.  The proposal would raise each threshold by $5,000.

 

"Strickland said that could make a big difference for districts that are on the border and would lose all extra funding.  She noted that private schools for the disabled do not have to cap their budgets as do public schools, creating tension when districts are creating their budgets.

 

"She said her biggest concern is the status of state revenue, which will determine how much money overall there is for education aid.   'Between the economy and Hurricane Sandy, funds are tightening up,' she said.  'That will set the stage for the state budget and state education funding.' . . . "

 

Garden State Coalition of Schools/GSCS                                                                                                    3/31/13

A Selection:  GSCS speaks for you in the media and in Trenton

 GSCS FYI on www.gscschools.org
GSCS Gets Your Message Out - In addition to members and interested citizens, GSCS sends information from its website  www.gscschools.org  and its GSCS Email-Net newsletter updates  to the Statehouse - legislative and executive branch officials and staff -  as well as to the media, on a regular basis...

3-1-31, NJ Spotlight:  "Gov. Chris Christie's election-year state aid package for New Jersey's public schools looks like it has a little bit for almost everyone -- or at least not any less for anyone.

“. . . 'Overall, people are relieved that funding is stabilized with flat funding at the very least, and increases for districts, such as those that are at 10 percent or more under adequacy is important,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'Being that it is an election year as well, we are optimistic these aid levels will not be lessened and may even be increased under the legislative process with the Appropriations Act for FY14,' she added."

 

2-27-13, The Record:  "Christie budget includes $97M more for N.J. schools, but critics warn it's far from enough"

Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents mostly suburban systems, said, 'Districts were worried about losing aid, so this puts that concern aside, but we do need to take a good look at how it's laid out district by district.' . . . "

 

2-25-13, NJ Spotlight:  "Christie and Co. Keep Tight Lid On Education Funding in State Budget

“ . . . 'What we need and hope for is at least stable funding so that schools don't fall backwards,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'We hope for some increase, but we are not speculating beyond that,' she said.  'We're realists.’ . . .  "

 

2-20-13, Philadelphia Inquirer:  "NJ Legislature looking at requiring all schools to offer full-day kindergarten classes"

" . . . No cost estimate for the proposed mandate has been calculated.  'It really needs to be addressed, because it's such a large stumbling block,' said Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, an advocacy group for suburban districts. 'Thinking districts will be able to take this on with the 2 percent tax cap is wishful thinking.'  .  .  . “

 

2-12-13, Politickernj-State Street Wire:  "Full day kindergarten a great, but possibly costly, idea"

However, Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition said while she is supportive of the concept, she is worried about the costs.  'It really needs to be addressed because it's such a large stumbling block,' . . . To help find ways, she suggested creating a task force. . . . Assemblyman Scott Rumana (R-40) agreed with her . . . “

 

12-26-12, Press of Atlantic City:  "Aid squeeze looks likely for schools in South Jersey"

". . . Lynne Strickland, of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which is made up largely of suburban districts, said they are concerned about the proposal that would raise the cost threshold at which districts could request extra funds for special-education placements.  The current threshold is $40,000 for public placements and $55,000 for private placements.  The proposal would raise each threshold by $5,000. 

 

"Strickland said that could make a big difference for districts that are on the border and would lose all extra funding.  She noted that private schools for the disabled do not have to cap their budgets as do public schools, creating tension when districts are creating their budgets.

 

"She said her biggest concern is the status of state revenue, which will determine how much money overall there is for education aid. 

 

" 'Between the economy and Hurricane Sandy, funds are tightening up,' she said.  'That will set the stage for the state budget and state education funding.' . . . " 

 

 

 

 

11-29-12, NJ101.5 Radio:  "NJ's High School Graduation Rate Drops"     " . . . 'The result is not surprising, it is something that the state Department of Education was expecting,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools. . . . 'So now they are looking at college freshmen and how many graduate in four years . . . and in New Jersey there are a number of students who do not graduate in four years, and so they would be considered a dropout.  For instance, if a parent has a special needs student and they take five or six years to graduate, they might be considered a dropout . . . mobility is also an issue in this state, we have students who move from district to district, and it can't always be tabulated where these students end up.'

 

"Stickland said overall the state is still performing well.

 

" 'Achievement wise I don't think anything has changed, but you certainly have pockets where you see a higher dropout rate, particularly in urban areas where that needs to be addressed.' ..."

 

11-29-12, The Record:  "New Jersey's graduation rate, once best in the nation, drops dramatically"              “ . . .'You have to give it a little time to see how it balances out in three years,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents about 100 New Jersey school districts, mostly in the suburbs.  'I hope people don't jump to conclusions going out the gate if we're only in the first turn on the racetrack now.' . . . “

 

11-17-12, The Record:  "Governor Christie hopes Newark teachers bonuses will serve as model for the state"

" . . . Many educators will be watching closely to see whether performance pay leads to student progress, said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'Everybody is blown away by the fact it's happening in Newark first,' she said."  

 

7-12-12, NJ Spotlight:  " Debate Swells as Decision Nears on Virtual Charters "      ". . . the Garden State Coalition of Schools, held its executive board meeting and discussed the letter at length before deciding to send its own.  The group is the state's largest organization representing specifically suburban districts.

 

"Lynne Strickland, the coalition's director, said it also was a matter of different approach to the same ends.

 

" 'In practice, GSCS is not litigious but rather focuses on policy issues that can impact quality education for all children,' she said. 'Given that our membership comes from the ranks of parents, school board members, and school administrators, GSCS reflects community concerns and speaks with an informed community voice on education issues.' . . . "

 

6-18-12, Politickernj:  "Ruiz' tenure reform bill clears Budget panel "            " . . . Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition of Schools also backed the bill and said change after 100 years under one system is not easy."

 

6-15-12, Star Ledger:  "Audience to N.J. Board of Ed:  Proposed charter school regulations a mistake" 

" . . . 'Consider the old phrase "hurry up and wait."  Let's get this thing right,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools . . . "

 

6-6-12, The Record:  "Opponents argue against virtual charter schools at N.J. Board of Education meeting"

" . . . Lynne Strickland, of Garden State Coalition of Schools, said that in the state's explanation of the proposed changes, 'no mention is made of costs [to districts] and how students will be supported.' . . . " 

 

5-4-12, The Record:  "Christie applauds court ruling limiting sick-day payouts for school chiefs . . . "

“ . . . It's a possibility (speaking of the court ruling being a possible precedent) and it will be a concern to many folks who are dealing with (administrative) turnover,’ said Lynn Strickland, head of the Garden State Coalition of Schools . . .  'The issue of law or regulations superceding contracts is a big issue with pluses and minuses.’ "

 

4-14-12, Press of Atlantic City:  “Plan would cut state school aid $300 million; not all districts affected the same”

“ . . . ‘We have to deal with the reality of the political world and the economy,’  said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents largely suburban districts throughout the state . . . ‘We are not naive,’ she said. ‘But we have to work in the moment and prepare for the future.’ “

 

3-27-12, NJ Spotlight:  “What Do Budget Reviews Mean for Education Department?”    

“ . . . ‘The department (DOE) needs to have a greater breadth in order for it to be truly supportive for districts,’ said Lynne Strickland, director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools . . .’If they are beefing up, that’s only better for all .’ . . .”

 

3-20-12, Politickernj:  "Education advocates seek greater increase in funding; say schools still underfunded"

" . . . Lynne Strickland, the executive director of Garden State Coalition of Schools, said she was in favor of the additional school aid, but still had concerns about underfunding. Strickland also said she had concerns about charter schools, which 'create a hole in school budgets.' . . ."

 

3-13-12, State Street Wire-Politickernj.com:  "Education advocates seek increased funding"

" . . . Lynne Strickland, the executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which advocates for public support of public education, said that public schools need more stable funding.  'It's not an easy budget but we do feel it's going in the right direction,' Strickland said.  . . . " 

 

2-26-12, Star Ledger:  "Scores of N.J. school districts moving elections from April to November"     

" . . . said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'Most school boards are responsible and want to do the best for their kids, . . . I think they are very hopeful that, without having separate April elections, they can get a budget done appropriately but stay focused on the education of their students throughout the school year.  I'd say overwhelmingly this will be a good thing.' . . . "

 

2-24-12, Asbury Park Press -Gannett:  "State aid cuts hit low-income areas, help suburbs"    

 " . . . But Lynne Strickland, who represents some 200 suburban school districts through the Garden State Coalition of Schools, praised the new figures.  'There's recognition that this has been a long time coming, and we're glad for it,' Strickland said.  'Suburbs have been left to free fall . . .  We need the help, too.' . . . "

 

2-24-12, The Record:  "Bergen County schools due state aid under plan"  " . . .'It really does look like the governor has recognized the suburbs have been left out of the loop for quite a while in state aid, and they need it,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'It's been a long time coming but we're glad it's showing up now.' "

 

2-24-12, NJ Spotlight:  "Winners and Losers for School Aid"       “ . . . 'Seeing not only the plus column next to our members, but also the echo of an improved aid picture for the suburbs in the future feels good,' read an email from Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, a group of more than 100 suburban districts. 'It has been a long time.' . . . "

 

2-22-12, The Record:  "How much Christie's aid plan would help individual schools an unknown"     

". . . Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents mostly suburbs, was cautious about the coming aid figures.  'An increase is always a plus . . . but until we know how it really is going to be distributed it's hard to get a feel for whether it will be well received throughout the state,' she said.  'We'll have to see what the devil is, if there is a devil in the details.' "

 

2-14-12, NJ Spotlight:  "Will Christie Cut School Aid?”      “ . . . ‘If my members were held to flat funding, it would be hard to be content with that,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents mostly suburban districts.  David Abbott, superintendent of Marlboro schools and president of the Garden State Coalition, said districts are growing resigned to the austere times in the aftermath of Christie's cuts in his first budget . . . "

 

2-6-12, Courier Post:  "Teacher tenure reform headed for runway"      " . . . Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents suburban school districts, said she could see numerous points of compromise in the legislation.  She said the bill appeared to be on the fast track . . . "

 

1-3-12, Asbury Park Press / Gannett:  "Reforms may end teacher tenure in NJ"    

. . . Lynne Strickland (GSCS Executive Director) said teachers and parents are still waiting to see what all the [reform agenda] changes will eventually mean.  'The effort is [primarily] pitched toward school districts that are having performance issues,' Strickland said.  'Those schools that are performing well, parents and educators want them to continue to do well, and they're worried they're going to be held back by a one-size fits all approach.' . . . "

 

12-16-11, Asbury Park Press:  "School elections bill advances in Assembly"     “ . . . Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents suburban school districts, questioned a provision in the bill that would let municipal governments unilaterally decide to move school elections . . . "

 

11-22-11, NJ Spotlight:  "Suburban Schools vs. Charter:  First Round Goes to the Suburbs"      . . . 'Certainly if districts feel they may be harmed, they may find themselves in a better position to challenge,' said Lynne Strickland, director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, whose members include most of the districts involved in the challenges . . . "

 

11-3-11, Asbury Park Press: "Education reform on agenda . . . Teacher tenure, school vouchers likely to be acted on this fall"      " . . . The lobbyists and association leaders, along with a state official, did not offer specific details during a meeting of the Garden State Coalition of Schools at Rutgers University, but instead presented a broad outline of measures being debated behind closed doors . . . "

 

10-24-11, NJ Spotlight:  “For David Hespe, Return to Trenton Brings New and Old Challenges"

“. . . 'Dave is balanced, deliberative, and straightforwardly honest,' said Lynne Strickland, head of the Garden State Coalition of Schools who has worked with Hespe off and on for more than a decade.  'He's an all-around good guy who has the tools to be very effective, while being well-liked by those who work for him,' she said.  'And that's important at the DOE these days.' . . . “

 

10-13-11, NJ Spotlight:  “Charters Continue to Stir Up Controversy—in Senate, Court, and Home Districts”

“ . . . tensions between charters and their host districts seem intractable, at least for now.  'It's certainly not going away as an issue,' said Lynne Strickland, director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'But rather than pitting a community against itself, something needs to be talked through to get this off the dime.' “

 

7-14-11, Associated Press-Press of Atlantic City, Courier Post:  "New Jersey school aid plan triggers more disputes in Legislature . . . "  ". . . Because of the way the funds were split up, many districts are getting much more than last year but still less than the year before.  'One's talking about oranges, and the other may be talking about apples,' said Lynne Strickland, who runs the suburban school group Garden State Coalition of Schools.  'It's like five steps back, two steps forward.' . . .”

 

7-13-11, Star Ledger:  “N.J. public school districts to receive at least 2 percent funding increase"    " . . . Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, said she was relieved to see 'the second step of the school funding giveback' confirmed by Tuesday's release of district-level aid figures.  'Last year, districts were all hit the same way.  Now, they're getting back some of what they lost in a similar way,' said Strickland, whose organization advocates for mostly suburban districts.  'The needs are there, and they're ready to put it all to good use as soon as possible.'

 

7-13-11, Njspotlight.com:  "For Administration, School Aid Equals Property Tax Relief . . . Governor's office 'strongly encourages' school districts not to use funding to restore cut programs . . . "  

"  . . .’ The Garden State Coalition hopes that the administration's guidance suggesting that funding be used for property tax relief will also mean that schools will not be discouraged from reducing large class sizes, or other important educational needs that have be put aside due to recent aid cutbacks,' Strickland said last night . . . "

 

7-13-11, Philadelphia Inquirer:  "Christie's increase in school aid is detailed"     " . . . Lynne Strickland, head of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which includes many suburban districts, said she was relieved to hear about the additional funds. 'It's well recognized the districts have really had to cut back on programs for education,'  she said. . . ." 

 

7-13-11, Press of Atlantic City:  "New Jersey schools to divide extra $600M in school aid"     " . . . . Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition of Schools was more cautious.  She said she would hope districts get the option to either use money this year or save it for next year when it could help control property taxes . . . 'Some districts could really use some extra money this year,' she said.  'But the timelines are tough, and past experience has shown that when the state gives extra aid, they like to see it used for property tax relief.' . . ."

 

7-6-11, Njspotlight.com:  "Christie's School Aid Cuts -- And Adds -- Leave Districts Uncertain About Funding:  School districts anxious to know how much they'll actually get and how they can spend it"

" . . . Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, said Christie's plan 'at least hit every district in a positive way.' 

. . . But as for restrictions, 'that is worrisome,' she said.  'We need to keep an eye on that.' . . . "

 

 


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