Christie Promises Veto Of Dems’ Tax Increases, Mum On Pension Cuts

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18197186-mmmainTRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie took a scolding tone with the state’s Democratic lawmakers Thursday night, saying he planned to veto $1.1 billion in tax hikes outright but declining to say how much smaller the state’s contribution to the pension system would be.

On his monthly radio show on New Jersey 101.5, answered “yes” to a question of whether he’d veto a planned “millionaires’ tax.”

But he batted away a question about how much smaller his pension payment might be, saying only that “It’s safe to say that they’ve spent a lot of money that we don’t have, and that we’re not going to be able to spend.”
The Democratic-controlled state Legislature passed a state budget Thursday that would fully fund the state’s badly listing pension system with a $3.1 billion payment — $1.8 billion more than Christie proposed in his initial spending plan.… Read the rest

Legislature Passes Budget With Full Pension Funding

The followins is a press release from .org, here is a link to to the release:

veto likely

The New Jersey Senate and General Assembly today passed, on party-line votes, a budget that provides a record $3.1 billion pension payment.  That amount represents the full payment due under Ch. 78 for the upcoming fiscal year.  Both houses also passed legislation requiring pension payments to be made quarterly, rather than only at the end of the fiscal year.  A small number of broke ranks to support that common-sense improvement to New Jersey’s pension funding practice.

The votes followed a weeks-long lobbying effort by NJEA members targeting all 120 legislators.… Read the rest

At NJ Spotlight Roundtable, Kudos And Challenges For Pre-K And Beyond

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Senate President uses venue to announce preschool services, full-day kindergarten among his ‘top-five’ priorities

New Jersey holds a unique position in the national discussion about public preschool.

For the better part of a decade, the state has been seen as having one of the nation’s more generous models of publicly funded preschool, one largely spawned by the Abbott v. Burke school-equity rulings and serving more than 40,000 children in more than 30 of the state’s neediest districts.

But for at least the past six years, New Jersey’s attempts to expand the state-funded program into more districts have run into tough economic realities — even as other states have lurched ahead.… Read the rest

Consortium Opts To Shorten Parcc Exams, Merge Two Testing Periods Into One

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In response to complaints, multi-state group decides to shave 90 minutes off math and language arts sections and alter exam schedule

New Jersey’s new continues to be a moving target, as the nine-state consortium behind the controversial test yesterday announced some changes in the exams – while critics contended that the changes don’t go far enough.

Such is the never-ending debate over the tests, which appears unlikely to end anytime soon.

The multistate consortium announced that it would scale back the testing slightly in the 2015-16 school year, reducing the overall testing time by 90 minutes and changing to a single testing period.… Read the rest

Christie Seeks To Reshape School Accountability Mandates In Federal Waiver

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Education Law Center says proposal would give too much leeway, with less openness, over state-controlled urban schools

The administration has asked the federal government to allow some changes in the state’s accountability system for its most troubled schools, including the administration’s own state-controlled schools.

This spring, the state filed for renewal of its three-year-old waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act, as the Obama administration continued to seek ways for states to escape the dictates of the NCLB law.

That initial waiver allowed the state to set up a new way of classifying schools in need of intervention, categorizing the lowest performing schools as “priority schools” and designating as “focus schools” those with large performance gaps between different subgroups of students.… Read the rest

Christie’s Proposed 10-Year Pension Payment Ramp-up Could Cost NJ Billions

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Governor’s own law gives him seven years to get pension payments in line, but he says he needs 10. What he’s not saying is how costs would balloon over time

While lawmakers await a ruling from New Jersey’s Supreme Court on whether the state has to stay committed to a plan to prop up the public-employee pension system with a series of escalating payments over a seven-year term, Gov. ’s state treasurer is continuing to make the case for stretching those payments over 10 years.

The goal of both plans is to get the state up to the full payment that actuaries calculate is needed on an annual basis to keep the pension system solvent.… Read the rest

State Eases Up On Tougher Standards For Teacher Training, Licensing

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administration heeds calls for slower implementation of some of its proposed changes

Three months after they were first proposed, the Christie administration’s voluminous revisions to the state’s teacher preparation and certification requirements are still being fine-tuned, with the state stepping back from a couple of the more aggressive changes.

The latest revisions were posted last week, in a lead-up to a special public hearing to be held May 20 before the State Board of Education.

Some of the changes to the original proposal presented in February pertain to requirements for prospective teachers in college or other teacher-preparation programs, as well as for those already in the profession.… Read the rest

Christie Warns Parents Opting Out Of Parcc Could Trigger Reduced Services, Higher Local Taxes

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CEDAR GROVE — Gov. on Thursday strongly cautioned parents against opting out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test, warning that schools with high rates of refusal would face “ramifications out of my control.”

Addressing a question at a town hall in Cedar Grove from Colleen Martinez, a Montclair parent who said that her daughter had opted out of the test and would continue to do so “as long as it’s administered,” Christie noted that in schools that fell below a certain threshold, sanctions could flow from both the federal government and the state of New Jersey.… Read the rest

Chris Christie Says New Jersey Finances ‘Significantly Better’ Than 2010

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The second-term Republican has presided over a record nine credit downgrades.

New Jersey Governor Chris , who has presided over a record nine credit downgrades, said the state’s finances are “significantly better” than when he took office.

Christie, a second-term Republican who may run for president, said during a town-hall meeting in Cedar Grove on Thursday that the state was three weeks away from running out of cash when he took the helm in January 2010.

“It has gotten significantly better,” he said during the event.… Read the rest