TRENTON, NJ -
On March 14, 2016, Assemblyman Ronald Dancer and Rob Clifton introduced legislation to provide a supplemental appropriation for School Districts across the Garden State that had significant student enrollment increases. Chesterfield Township School District has had a significant increase in student enrollment and according to Chesterfield Township, under this bill would receive over $4 million.
Local resident Andrea Katz is involved in this issue and spoke with legislators. WBNC News interviewed her on February 14th about this issue, which you can watch above.
We asked Andrea Katz over email today if she was confident if it will pass, she told us, “...in order for it to move, it will need co-sponsors and a similar bill to pass in the Senate before it would go to the Governor’s desk... Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Assemblyman John McKeon have introduced a supplemental appropriations bill that would distribute funds to schools based on property tax levels. I hope that Assemblymen Dancer and Assemblyman Clifton can work with the sponsors of that bill to find a compromise between the two bills so we can focus our energy.”
She also explained how she was involved in the creation of the bill by starting the process with a phone call to Assemblyman Dancer's office. Then, joined by CES Board President Jignesh Shah and CES Superintendent Scott Heino, she met with Dancer, Joe Malone, a representative from the Department of Education and a representative from the Governor’s office.
When asked how dealing with elected officials in Trenton went, Andrea Katz said, "Assemblyman Dancer has been great with communication and I appreciate his desire to help. I did not meet or speak with Assemblyman Clifton, and, unfortunately, Senator Thompson’s office did not return my calls."
What can community members do? "We need to contact the members of the Assembly and Senate Budget Committees thanking them for considering the issue, as well as continuing to contact our own legislators asking to work towards a permanent fix to the way school aid is distributed in New Jersey. Next year, we will have an election for Governor and the entire General Assembly and Senate are up for reelection. We need to push the candidates to make this a campaign issue," Katz ended.
A request for comment from either Assemblymen Ronald Dancer or Rob Clifton was not immediately returned.
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