NJEA lauds state budget

“A win for students and working people”

NJEA’s officers, President Sean M. Spiller, Vice President Steve Beatty and Secretary-Treasurer, Petal Robertson, commended legislative leaders and Gov. Murphy for a budget that increases school funding, provides another full pension payment and gives much-needed additional aid to New Jersey’s county colleges.

Additionally, it provides funding for an Office of Community Schools, which will benefit students and communities across New Jersey. It also provides funding for work climate innovation grants for public schools and stipends for student teachers, both of which were proposed by the governor’s Educator Shortage Task Force on which NJEA President Spiller and three NJEA members served.

The budget also contains tax-relief measures, through ANCHOR and StayNJ, to make New Jersey more affordable for working and retired people. That comes as welcome news at a time when middle-class families across New Jersey are feeling financial pressure.

Spiller, Beatty and Robertson released this statement:

“Every budget is a statement of values and this budget shows, once again, that New Jersey values students, families and public education. It is a budget designed to help keep our schools the best in the nation, which is great news for everyone. Students deserve great public schools, families expect great public schools and businesses depend on great public schools to keep our workforce and our economy strong and innovative. The governor proposed a strong budget that reflected the core values he’s carried throughout his years in office and the Legislature listened to educators throughout the process and worked hard to make it even stronger.

“By increasing direct aid to schools, this budget will help curb property tax growth while also ensuring that students have the resources and support they need to thrive. That helps ensure that New Jersey remains an attractive place to live and raise a family. And we look forward to working with the Administration and the Legislature on legislation to ensure that the Office of Community Schools, which this budget funds, is a powerful force for progress in communities across New Jersey.

“By increasing state aid to county colleges, New Jersey will make it easier and more affordable for thousands of students to continue their education beyond high school. We are grateful that legislators listened NJEA’s strong calls for additional higher education funding. They showed respect for our higher education members who reached out on behalf of their students to explain why that funding was so necessary.

“This budget also demonstrates real fiscal discipline and responsibility by once again making a full pension payment. That responsibility was neglected for far too long under previous administrations of both parties, which threatened our state’s economic future. By fully funding the amount required this year, we will take one step closer to paying off past debts and moving forward with the strong, secure pension system our members deserve for their career of service to New Jersey.

“We also applaud the work to make New Jersey more affordable for working people and retirees. A state as strong and prosperous as New Jersey owes its success to both of those groups and this budget recognizes their vital contribution to our success. This budget is a win for students and working people.”