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March on Trenton

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This morning I’m writing a “local piece” on a subject near and dear to my heart- school funding for the township of Brick and many other districts in the state under law A2/S2, passed in July.

I’m writing about this not just as a concerned parent, but as a former educator as well. Due to the passage of A2/S2 dozens of school districts have had their aid cut, and their money redistributed to other districts. Our town alone had $1.9 million in aid cut for this school year, and could lose much more in state aid over the next seven years. The reallocation of funds occurred because Senate President Stephen Sweeney believes that in the districts receiving the aid taxpayers are not paying their fair share of property taxes to support their schools.

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This belief is being contested by a number of districts statewide.

As a result, a lawsuit is being filed, including Brick and several other districts, which will challenge the Department of Education’s decision on the distribution of funds.

Later today there will be a march on Trenton to protest the cuts, spearheaded by the Toms River school district and attended by Brick Township School District and others as well.

My heart is with all who participate.

I can fully attest to the fact that our district has some of the most caring and dedicated professionals I’ve come across, and I’ve worked in districts spanning New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Even the most passionate professionals however cannot meet students’ needs if they have thirty students in a classroom, or are bereft of the funds necessary to purchase materials to use for their lessons.

I know this, because I’ve taught in a classroom of thirty, and also taught in a classroom of eighteen. There is almost no possible way to meet the diverse needs of so many students, particularly if you’re teaching four or five different subjects daily.

Believe me, I’ve tried.

The cuts will also include program cuts, possibly sports and extracurriculars, which will either be terminated or will require parents to pay; service cuts; and program cuts as well.

Something needs to change.

And today, as possibly hundreds of professionals march on Trenton on the same day that Governor Phil Murphy will give his budget address, I hope their voices are heard.

For all of our schools.

For all of our educators.

For all of our children.

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