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Email: gscschools@gmail.com
Phone: 609-394-2828 (office)
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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
160 West State Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08608

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

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

8-28-10: Star Ledger front page left,  "What they are saying:" GSCS speaks out for quality public education" We are concerned for the stability of quality education more than ever - this turmoil of leadership is worrisome, especially at this time of year," Lynne Strickland, Garden State Coalition of Schools . . .

NJ MONTHLY, Towns & Schools, September 2010 Issue: "To the Rescue:  With school districts in need, local education foundations are helping plug the budget gaps." "Yet Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, warns that the nonprofits, staffed by mostly volunteers, can't be expected to replace public funding. 'Foundations are important because they end up supporting things the community really believes are crucial to the school system,' she says. 'But they will not be sustaining the core of education programs.  That would be unreasonable and not a fair reach.' . . . "

9-10-10, NJspotlight.com:  “New Jersey Files for EduJobs Money, but Will All Districts Be Treated Equally?”
“Suburban organization says some guidelines could leave a third of New Jersey’s districts out in the cold . . . That has left others guessing.  Lynne Strickland, head of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, the state’s predominant suburban schools group, said she fears it will short change her members. . . “

9-23-10,The Record "Bill allowing higher ed institutions to regulate charter schools clears 1st hurdle" 
". . . Judith Wilson, superintendent of Princeton Regional Schools (and GSCS treasurer), called it 'taxation without representation' because local school districts do not have a say. . ."

9-21-10, Star Ledger: “N.J. school officials are cautious of spending federal funds" . . . In Marlboro, which will receive $434,487, Superintendent David Abbott (GSCS president) said he'll wait until next year to rehire some of the 30 teachers laid off this year.  Overall, the district laid off 70 staff members and increased class sizes after a $6 million budget cut, he said. . . '(GSCS) districts would have been much more rewarded if aid could have been given out proportionate to the state aid percentages that they lost,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents suburban, largely more affluent districts. 'They're grateful, but it's not going to take care of the aid reduction issue.' "

10-1-10, GSCS Email-Net:  There appears to be gathering momentum in the Assembly to address education mandate relief.

“GSCS and other NJ education advocates, including Acting Commissioner Rochell Hendricks, testified on September 20 before the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee, which has been charged with reviewing state mandates.  GSCS' testimony was well-received by the committee. . .”

11-24-10, Bloomberg:  “Christie Attack on Pay Enrages N.J. Republican Towns ‘Bullied’ by Governor”
“ . . . ‘He’s doing this to the very communities that elected him,’ James O’Neill (Chatham superintendent and a GSCS past president) said.  ‘What he’s telling us is that those people were all smart enough to elect him, but they’re not smart enough to choose who will be superintendent.’ . . . Lynne Strickland executive director of the Garden State Coaliton of Schools, which lobbies for districts, said tows that are used to managing their own affairs are feeling threatened.  ‘There’s an intense roar that’s sort of rising here,’ Strickland said.  ‘Local folks are saying we know best what’s needed for our districts.’ . . .”

12-5-10, The Auditor (Star Ledger):  "Anybody there?"
"The exodus of senior staffers at the state Department of Education has turned into a stampede, frustrating local school leaders who say it is undercutting chances of reform. . . . "This is a big deal," says Lynne Strickland of the Garden State Coalition of Schools. "How can they possibly push reforms? Who's going to really understand it [i.e., education reforms] and carry it out so it has even a chance?"

12-9-10, The Record:  "Senate Education Committee to hold tenure hearing" “. . . The number of tenure cases 'seems terribly low,' said Lynne Strickland, executive director of Garden State Coalition of Schools. 'You have to be doing something rather egregious before districts will file tenure charges. They know it will be costly and long and they don't always win. One good thing that could come out of tenure reform would be that a defeatist attitude on the part of districts might be removed.' “

12-10-10, GSCS Email-Net:  Since our successful Education Forum at Douglass College in early November (Many thanks to the NJSDC for co-sponsoring!), GSCS has been working hard to keep ahead of the issues and making sure our members' concerns are heard in Trenton.  Here's a sampling of what we've been up to:

GSCS was invited to testify on tenure reform yesterday,
Dec. 9 before the Senate Education Committee.  GSCS Executive Director Lynne Strickland and Vice President Betsy Ginsburg (BOE president, Glen Ridge), spoke on behalf of the Coalition.  . . .GSCS met with Assembly Education Chair Patrick Diegnan on Nov. 10 to discuss Charter School legislation issues. . . . GSCS met on Nov. 15 with Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to discuss a wide range of NJ educational issues and concerns. . .

In response to a request presented at the Nov. 10th Education Forum by Gregg Edwards, interim DOE chief of staff, GSCS has been gathering input from members on the negative impact on districts from the SFRA. . . Recognizing that the Legislature will be acting on new and revised charter school legislation in the coming weeks, GSCS has issued a call for member districts to immediately contact their local representatives, as well as Trenton leaders, asking for careful studies and wise and balanced decisions so that any new laws do not impact negatively on public school districts. . . .Repeatedly called for immediate legislative action that will help districts face the 2% budget cap on increasing local property taxes that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2011.

12-18-10, Wall Street Journal “Education Chief Enters With Clout”
". . . Despite working for several years in neighboring New York City, Mr. Cerf is still unknown to many in the education community in the Garden State. ‘A lot of people don't know him,’ said Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents over 300,000 schoolchildren, parents, board of education members and administrators from 100 mostly suburban districts. ‘It's clear that he's a match with Gov. Christie's reform agenda, and I guess our hope will be that what reform occurs in New Jersey. . . will be done in the best way for the students in the state,’ Ms. Strickland said."

1-4-11, The Record:  "Terms end without renewal for one third of N.J. county education chiefs"
" . . . Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools advocacy group, said she worried about such a loss of institutional memory and leadership at a crucial moment of reform proposals and tight coffers.  Strickland expressed concern that new appointees would 'be more of a change agent for the governor and less knowledgeable of the system when they have to get into the nitty-gritty. . . We wish it didn't happen so precipitously so there would have been more advanced preparation for transition,' she said.

1-5-11, Star Ledger:  "Gov. Christie's dismissal of county education chiefs draws criticism from N.J. Senate majority leader"
" . . . Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, a group that represents about 100 suburban school districts, said Christie's failure to re-nominate the executive superintendents is 'not a comment on their ability to perform, as much as a governor choosing to put folks in place who are on his team.'  She said, however, with the state's school districts working on budgets, with a new education commissioner just named and numerous key vacancies in high-level positions at the education department, the timing is a challenge.  'The timing is difficult because of the forthcoming budget, the loss of state aid under last year's budget, the funding formula up in the air.  There are a lot of decisions that have to be made on school budgets going forward,' she said.  'Can they hire folks quickly enough that will have the background to be effective in the next year?' "

1-13-11, The Record:  "N.J. Supreme Court appointee to look into state education cuts" ". . . Lynne Strickland, who has watched repeated rounds of school funding litigation from her advocacy post as executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, said she expected the justices would render their decision before the fiscal 2012 budget is due.  'I guess they decided not to punt,' she said. 'I'm just worried about how this is all going to play out.  There is so much uncertainty in the air.' . . .”

1-20-11:  GSCS Testimony before Senator Buono's Education Aid Impact hearing in Edison". . . Today, the Garden State Coalition is very worried that substantial reduction in state support for its public schools is leading precipitously to a diminishing of the high quality education that over the years for which New Jersey has been appropriately recognized nationally.  GSCS overall has enjoyed a high success rate in student performance, and our purpose is to see that success continue and grow, not be lost as one of the highest of priorities for our state. . . Every district in the state has had to cut back, while the fixed-costs side of the equation-such as health care and utilities and prior contracts-keep moving ahead . . . "

2-9-11, Asbury Park Press:  “NJ schools prepare for further budget cuts”

“. . . Lynne Strickland, executive director of the Garden State Coalition of Schools, which represents 100 suburban school districts, said that . . . she thinks . . . there still will be more pain.  ‘It’s real and palpable,’ Strickland said.  ‘Class sizes are beginning to go up.  There will be more jobs eliminated, positions will be outsourced.  This is the negative action that’s happening.  There is great concern out there.’ . . .”

Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608

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