NJEA President Marie Blistan, Vice President Sean M. Spiller and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty released this statement regarding the FY21-22 state budget that was recently passed by the New Jersey Legislature and signed today by Gov. Murphy:

“This historic budget makes a major down payment on the stronger, fairer future that New Jersey families need and deserve after the challenges of the last 16 months. It’s a fiscally sound and forward-looking budget that lives up to the state’s current obligations and makes wise investments in our future prosperity.

“The record-breaking pension contribution demonstrates that Gov. Murphy and legislative leaders are united in their commitment to finally closing the funding gap that took 25 years to open. Every dollar invested in that today represents money saved in the future. More importantly, it helps ensure the security of the pensions that our members and all public employees have contributed to without fail and have worked so hard to earn.

“This budget also represents another step toward fully funding our schools, which need more resources than ever before to meet the post-pandemic needs of our students. Combined with additional funding from the American Rescue Plan, districts across New Jersey will be able to provide students with the facilities, programs and supports they need to thrive. To fully support students, though, that investment will need to be sustained over many years, particularly where major facilities and infrastructure upgrades are needed.

“This is a budget that was created to support New Jersey’s families, including the students who attend our public schools and county colleges. It demonstrates that New Jersey is on track to emerge from the pandemic stronger, more resilient and more committed to working people than ever before.”

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