HACKENSACK - Gov. Chris Christie met with students and their teachers at the Bergen Arts and Science Charter School in Hackensack Wednesday.
The governor spent some time talking about the importance of education during the visit, as well as seeing some of the projects the students were working on.
Officials at the school applauded Christie and said that he has done a lot for charter schools in New Jersey. Christie says that charter schools are important for the state.
“Their obligation is to provide opportunity to children and their families for a better life. That’s all this is about. Gets involved in a lot of politics sometimes, which is unfortunate,” Christie said.
Christie also praised one of the students at the school who will be heading to the U.S. Senate Youth Program. The governor attended the same program back in 1980.
“If this is what New Jersey’s future is, what I’m looking at this morning, we have a lot to look forward to,” he said.
The governor’s visit came as the Assembly Budget Committee learned about a surprise revenue shortfall in the State House, with New Jersey falling short by $400 million in revenue this year. The education-funding formula is also leaving schools across the state underfunded and overcrowded.
Even a successful charter school like Bergen Arts and Science struggles with funding issues. Advocates say that this is something that they would like to see changed.
“We’re just not afforded the same facilities that public schools are,” says Dawn Fantasia, of iLearn Charter School. “Moving forward, we're hoping this governor and even the subsequent administration will again focus on getting us some funding that we need.”
School administrators admit that charter schools have largely expanded thanks to the governor’s work.