Cuts, layoffs loom for Garden State schools

Gov. Chris Christie proposed reductions in school aid by more than $800 million in his budget address last week. Schools districts around New Jersey now face tough decisions as they struggle to balance budgets.

The Wayne Public School District is trimming more than $9 million from its proposed spending plan including more than $2.5 million in administrative costs. The board will cut 95 positions, including half of the district's elementary school guidance counselors, middle school student resource officers and 23 aides.

Cranford School District officials say 50 positions may be cut including 12 teachers in an effort to cope with a $2.5 million reduction in funding.

The Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District will also have to make cuts. The board has approved 26 layoffs. Layoffs include Spanish and Special Ed teachers and as well as the assistant principal position. Even after the cuts, the district will be short about $3 million. District officials say tax payers may have to absorb the burden.

School officials in Hopatcong are mulling more cuts after slashing 20 jobs last year. District officials say 20 more teachers could be laid off. Freshman sports are also in danger of being cut due to the lack of funding.

On Tuesday, Gov. Christie said layoffs could be avoided if teachers would forgo raises and contribute to health insurance costs in the upcoming academic year.

Public meetings continue to be held across the state allowing residents to voice their opinions on the school cuts. North Brunswick and Allamuchy Townships will meet Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. Clifton and Ewing Township school boards will meet at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.

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