Sunday Leftovers

Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver has proposed a compromise plan that would allow the Legislature to set the amount that public employees contribute to health and pension premiums, but the bill would sunset after three years, allowing benefits contributions to return to the district bargaining table. The Star-Ledger Editorial Board applauds Oliver's craft. The less enthusiastic Courier-Post advises Oliver to “quit swallowing union leaders' hyperbole, which apparently tastes good when it comes with huge plates of campaign contributions.”

And the Gloucester County Times Editorial Board urges the Legislature to pass the benefits reform bill proposed by Sen. Sweeney, in part to alleviate the slew of impasses at the school district level: “If troublesome issues like the parameters of public-employee health benefits could be resolved at the state level, local school boards and the unions would be less hesitant to settle remaining contract issues.”

The Record reviews the DOE’s new formula for computing total cost per pupil, which now includes costs for transportation, debt service, federal funds, and the costs of tuition for students sent out of district.

NJ Spotlight reports on a new appeals process for students who take NJ’s alternative high school proficiency test, the AHSA. The AHSA is offered after a student fails the traditional assessment, the HSPA, three times.

The Star-Ledger’s “Truth-O-Meter” did some due diligence on Gov. Christie’s comment that over the last 10 years 17 teachers out of 150,000 have been dismissed for incompetence. Conclusion: “mostly true.”

Gov. Christie announced legislation that will create a pilot program of public-private partnerships for five schools in chronically failing districts. Local school boards have to sign on and for-profit companies are eligible. NJEA President Barbara Keshishian said, "It is part of his ongoing effort to privatize public education in New Jersey. Under the guise of helping students, he is attempting to create a system that would funnel taxpayer dollars to private companies." Hey: it’s working in Philadelphia.

The Star-Ledger Editorial Board praises NJ’s high school graduation rate.

From the Asbury Park Press: "Toms River Regional’s former insurance broker received an unknown amount in excessive payments from the school district under a system so convoluted that it represented “either exceptionally poor management or intentional mismanagement,” a detailed fiscal review found."

Asbury Park Schools Update: the Board there voted 5-4 to go to court over State Fiscal Monitor’s decision to overturn the Board’s vote on whether or not to retain the current Business Administrator. The Board wanted to fire her, in spite of the fact that she was “credited with cleaning up a number of financial irregularities since being hired in 2008.” Your tax dollars at work.

The Trentonian has video on the “abomination” of a superintendent search in Hamilton Township. Trenton Times coverage here.

The New York Times reports today that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will use his executive authority to give states a pass on the NCLB requirement that all children attain proficiency by 2014.