School children rally at State House for education budget

Posted: Updated:

School children flooded the New Jersey State House Thursday to urge lawmakers to pass the state budget, including funding for education.

Students from the Chesterfield School District lined the State House walls as a show of support for the new school funding compromise introduced by Gov. Chris Christie. Democrats have less than two weeks to get it into the state budget.

“We’re starting here and we're not giving up until we get fair, full funding for every child in the state,” says Chesterfield Township Committeewoman Andrea Katz.

Chesterfield is the most under-funded school district in the state and is facing budget cuts. Chesterfield would gain more than $400,000 under the new plan.

“Third-graders, they're not going to have band next year and that might be really sad for them,” says fourth-grader Amelia Rebadavia.

District officials say that they favor the compromise for abandoning growth caps on funding, and reallocating some adjustment aid.

Certain districts, including Jersey City and Hoboken, currently receive more than $500 million in adjustment aid. This money was meant to temporarily tide them over. The compromise reallocates only $46 million of that aid.

“I’m not taking money away from any kids…the money is going where the children are, where the formula was originally projected … the money to follow the child,” says Senate President Steve Sweeney.

Republicans say that moving only part of the adjustment aid is damaging the fairness of the system.

Sweeney says that he speaks regularly with the governor and fellow legislators and that he sees “movement” on including other ideas into the budget.

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