In March, NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller and Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty testified on the proposed 2019 state budget.
Speaking before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on March 29 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Spiller commended Gov. Murphy and his administration for using the school funding formula to allocate school aid.
“Increasing direct aid to schools by $283 million demonstrates Gov. Murphy’s commitment to public education,” Spiller testified. “This 3.5 percent increase means that 94 percent of schools will get an increase and no district would see a cut in aid. The governor’s goal of fully funding our schools in four years is an ambitious, smart, and achievable goal if we all work together to invest in our children.”
NJEA also lauded Murphy’s proposed preschool expansion as a means of closing the achievement gap. And, while the $3.2 billion proposed pension payment would be the largest in New Jersey history, it falls short of the state’s Chapter 78 obligation.
Beatty, testifying before the Assembly Budget Committee at the Statehouse on March 28, urged legislators to partner with Gov. Murphy to revisit policies that make it increasingly difficult for working families to thrive.
“For the sake of the education profession, we ask you to address the onerous health care contributions implemented under Chapter 78, which has led to more and more school employees taking home less money each year since the law was enacted and which eliminated the COLA for retirees.”
NJEA also applauded Gov. Murphy’s commitment to making college more affordable and his support for the state’s high-quality community college system.
Finally, NJEA expressed support for revenue-raising measures that would force corporations and the most affluent to pay their fair share to ensure the state has the resources necessary to fund vital programs.
By law, the state budget must be finalized by June 30.