(TRENTON) – Assembly Appropriations Chairman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland) released the following statement Monday as the Assembly Budget Committee heard from the Department of Education:
“The governor’s continued inability to properly fund our schools is disappointing, especially for the property taxpayers who have endured a net 20 percent property tax hike under this governor.
“Also concerning is this governor’s lack of commitment to the savings that could come from school regionalization.
“A 2007 law required the executive county superintendents to present by March 2010 a plan to regionalize and consolidate schools within their districts. Despite this being law, we have seen no progress on this plan, much to the detriment of taxpayers.
“The Christie administration needs to do better.
“After all, the governor claims his proposed budget increasing school aid by $1.12 billion, but this is merely spin. Direct aid to districts is nearly $112 million less compared to before Gov. Christie took office.
“None of the indirect aid touted by the governor goes into the classroom to benefit children. It does not hire one teacher, provide one textbook nor buy one computer.
“Last year I sponsored a bill to help school districts with significant enrollment growth, but the governor vetoed that bill despite indicating he would support it. The governor needs to finally fully support our schools for the benefit of both our taxpayers and children.”