NJ education head testifies to Budget Committee

New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe testifies to state Budget Committee.

New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe testifies to state Budget Committee. (4/22/15)

TRENTON - The New Jersey Assembly's Budget Committee met with Education Commissioner David Hespe to hear testimony about budget proposals for New Jersey's Education Department.

More than 30 percent of every dollar spent in state government goes toward education. 

“That number has been climbing from 33 percent to now 38 percent,” said Hespe at the hearing.

New Jersey school districts will have to make do with the same amount of money this year that they received last year.

The PARCC test was also a big issue at the meeting. The commissioner said the department is looking at changes to the test, including how to cut down on the 14 percent of high school juniors whose parents opted them out of the test. Many opted out because they did not want to miss out on other school instruction.

“It’s very tough to schedule,” testified Hespe. “There’s a lot going on in 11th grade…We’re going to have to relook at how PARCC was delivered in 10th and 11th grade.”

As for the penalties facing districts that don't get 95 percent participation, Hespe said there will be some districts that fall short. There was no word yet on if they will lose funding as a result. 

The final round of PARCC testing will be given next month. Students this year do not have to take the test as a graduation requirement.

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