"I agree with the governor's theory, I absolutely do. Phasing in the 2.5, controlling the cost of government — it's the only way we are going to survive. But you can't do it three days before the budget's due and expect to maintain high-quality education. The boards are faced with challenges and decisions like they've never been faced with before." Marie Bilik, Exec. Dir., NJSBA.
Passaic is cutting 138 employees, Teaneck and Randolph are raising local taxes by 10% (that's why it's called a "soft 4% cap").
The Star-Ledger looks at the cost of firing an incompetent tenured teacher. Example: “The school board in Lopatcong spent nearly four years and $350,000 to dismiss a teacher who had directed his elementary school students to give him back-rubs.” Says Parsippany superintendent Rober Copeland, ""There’s just been such reluctance to whisper the words ‘tenure reform. But the time has come."
Jersey City’s superintendent Charles Epps negotiated a contract with the teacher union with raises between 4.35% and 4.7% and the board voted it down. The “loud and dramatic board meeting included this quip from board member and former mayor Gerald McCann to the teachers: "I know a lot of you have to go home...I know a lot of you have to get to the Turnpike," referring to the fact that only about a third of the district's 3,400 teachers live in Jersey City.
The Asbury Park Press looks at the value of publicly-funded preschool.
Gov. Christie to charter school operators: "We will do many good things for charters schools. In fact, I’ve held charter schools harmless in this budget because you already pay enough. There are going to be more charter schools a year from now than there are today."
Paul Peterson in the Wall St. Journal cites a study that shows that charter school supporters in America outnumber non-supporters by a margin of 2:1. "Among African Americans, those who favor charters outnumber opponents four to one. Even among public-school teachers, the percentage who favor charters is 37%, while the percentage who oppose them is 31%."
The Asbury Park Press reports that some districts in Monmouth and Ocean counties spent federal money intended for special education programming to “pay legal bills, expand non-special education programs and pay benefits for non-special education teachers.” And Ridgefield, explains The Record, overcharged local districts $1.1 million in special ed tuition.