Sunday Leftovers

If the Assembly approves the compromise tax cap agreed to by Gov. Christie and Senate President Steve Sweeney – a hard 2% cap with exceptions only for health benefits, pensions, debt service, natural disasters, or rising school enrollment – can school boards agree to anything more than 2% annual pay increases for teachers? (Hint: NJEA’s leadership says the plan is a “closed-door deal” that will “devastate New Jersey’s public schools and community services,” according to the Star-Ledger.)

New Jersey School Boards Association argues that any tax cap must give districts leeway for “the high and unpredictable costs for special education.” Superintendent Robert Holster from Passaic explains in The Record that “just last week he was told one child in his purview will need a $125,000 placement next year.”

Glen Ridge Goes Rogue: this top NJ school district will lose all state aid so its school board is contemplating secession by converting all its schools to either charters or private institutions. Why put up with onerous oversight with nothing in return? (Star-Ledger)

If NJ is broke, how does it fully fund the its schools according to the School Funding Reform Act formula? Education Law Center’s David Sciarra in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer: “This is a formula the Legislature enacted after a lot of work, bipartisan work. Both Republicans and Democrats voted for it. They all cheered when the court approved it. Now where are we?"

The Courier Post looks at failed school budgets in South Jersey and determines that “some municipalities refused to order any cuts to defeated budgets” anyway.

The Atlantic City School District spends more than $1,000,000 annually on legal fees, reports the Press of Atlantic City, more than any other district in the state. Marcus Rayner, executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, looks at the need for tort reform across NJ’s public school system, looking particularly at an especially egregious case in The Chathams. (New Jersey Newsroom.)

Lots of dismay among ed reformers about cuts to the Race To The Top program. Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, just cut $500 million from Race to the Top, $100 million from the charter-schools expansion, and $200 million from the teacher incentive fund. Read Jonathan Alter in Newsweek, who says that Obey, retiring this year, “is in danger of going out as a water carrier for the teachers’ unions.”