Barbara Buono campaign funding update (from Star-Ledger): "Garden State Forward, a Super PAC funded by the state's largest teachers union this week added an additional $850,000 to its television air time purchase bringing its total over the past two weeks to about $1.75 million and its overall total this season to nearly $7 million. Last week, the group spent $870,000 on air time for an ad scheduled to run until Friday. That money is in addition to another $1.4 million fronted by the union's traditional PAC." Also see NJ Spotlight's "Fine Print" on NJEA's PAC.
In other campaign news, the Jersey Journal observes this oddity: a Jersey City school board slate called “Children First,” endorsed the local teachers’ union, the Jersey City Education Association. Comments the Journal, "[u]sually, unions endorse candidates, not the other way around. But Children First spokeswoman Felicia Palmer said the endorsement shows “how bold we are.” Palmer acknowledged that a team of school board hopefuls endorsing a union is 'very strange.'” The JCEA responded by adding to its Facebook page a picture of Children First candidates with the caption “Dream team.”
The Star-Ledger reports on the Newark mayoral race to replace Cory Booker. Candidates are South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka (who is also principal of Newark Central High School), Shavar Jeffries (Newark School Board member), and Councilmen Anibal Ramos and Darrin Sharif. At a debate at Science Park High School, “Jeffries and Baraka directed most of their attention towards each other,,, Jeffries started, hitting Baraka over his performance as principal of Central High School. “It is one of the worst performing high schools in the United States of America,” Jeffries said. “It’s tough being the frontrunner because you get all the attacks,” Baraka responded. “Central was at the bottom of the list when I became principal, but it’s not at the bottom anymore.” (Um, it's still pretty much at the bottom.)
NJ Spotlight reports that "just 41 districts [out of 591] are still holding their school board elections in April, along with school budget votes."
The Press of Atlantic City covers Comm. Cerf’s address at the New Jersey School Boards Annual Workshop.
How is NJ doing with college and career-readiness? "Just 21 of the 1,065 full-time freshmen who entered Atlantic Cape Community College in the fall of 2010 graduated with their associate's degrees two years later. More than 400 of them, about 40 percent, did not return at all for their second year, according to the college's 2012 profile report." (Press of Atlantic City)
Lakewood Update from the Asbury Park Press:
A financial crisis with the township’s school busing system was brewing for more than a year, contends Janice Casciano, an assistant in the district’s transportation department.For 14 months, Casciano, who reported to transportation consultant Gus Kakavas, said she attempted to raise red warning flags to the township Board of Education about a possible budget shortfall.
“I told Gus that was not enough money” to run the buses, Casciano, 48, told the Asbury Park Press on Tuesday.
On Friday, feeling overworked and stressed out, she said she finally quit.
From the Trenton Times, a report on continuing problems for parents trying to secure legally-mandated special education services for their children with special needs. One child diagnosed with severe autism is not receiving services because of “transportation problems.” Problems with the special needs education problems in previous years have led to state-mandated improvements, but also fresh headaches for parents whose options for placement of their children have been narrowed."