budgetwatchA number of education-related items were added to the state budget during the FY 2016 budget process. Following are those that survived the Governor’s line-item veto:

  • $4 million, $1,500 per pupil, for adult education at vocational schools.
  • $3 million for county vocational partnerships. This would be a grant-based program, awarded by the Department of Education, for vocational schools to partner with school districts, county colleges and other entities to “create high-quality career and technical education programs in existing facilities.”
  • $7.25 million for non-public schools security, nursing and technology.
  • $2 million in competitive grants for professional development and PARCC readiness.

The $7 million total for vocational education was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Hudson), a long-time advocate of vocational education. Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, was the strongest advocate for the non-public school funds. The professional development and PARCC readiness funds were the result of the advocacy of Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), chair of the Senate Education Committee and member of the Senate Budget Committee.

These were all new revenue items and were not allocated from previously dedicated education funding sources. Other items were also proposed, but did not survive the budget process, either via line-item veto or by not being included the budget legislation sent to the Governor. Those items included:

  • $20 million in “Programmatic Stabilization Aid.” This additional funding is specifically for districts experiencing high enrollment increases and decreasing ratables. Indications are that it was written in such a way that only Paterson and Egg Harbor City would qualify.
  • $1 million to the Montclair School District for achievement gap reduction.
  • $2 million for Opportunity Scholarships Program (vouchers).