Published Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Gov. Chris Christie proposed a $32.9 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2014. While this is about $750 million or 2.33% more than the adjusted appropriation for FY 2013, it still leaves public schools underfunded by billions and cuts aid to other key programs. While the Governor’s proposed budget shortchanges public schools and slashes higher education aid, it would appropriate $2 million for a publicly funded private school voucher program. The budget is constitutionally required to be enacted by the legislature and be signed by the Governor before July 1. NJEA members need to join the fight to ensure that the FY 2014 budget reflects the priorities important to our families, schools, students, and communities.
- Say “NO” to vouchers! For years a pilot program for private school vouchers has failed to garner enough support to be enacted by the legislature. In this budget, Governor Christie proposes to do an end run around separate legislation and create a voucher program in the budget. The proposed program would appropriate $2 million which NJEA believes would be better spent on funding public schools or early childhood education.
- Fund the formula! Under this budget, funding for K-12 education is approximately $1.2 billion less than what is required under the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA). While the proposed budget would increase state aid to education by $97.3 million, it does little to blunt the impact of $3.6 billion in cuts to schools since 2010. This year, the governor touts an aid increase to more than 370 public schools and no reductions in aid to the rest. What he doesn’t mention is that:
- 70 districts would get less than $1,000 more in state aid;
- 202 districts would be “flat funded”;
- 40 districts would receive just one more dollar in aid!
- Make higher ed a higher priority! The proposed budget cuts higher education funding by $3.7 million and slashes the STARS program for student assistance by $3.2 million or 23%. This will make a college education less accessible to New Jersey students and ultimately will hurt our economy.
- Contact your legislators— ask them to present the Governor with a budget bill that rejects his voucher proposal, funds the school funding formula, and supports higher education. Let them know how this budget will impact your family and your students. Go to www.njleg.state.nj.us to look up your legislator’s contact information.