NJEA leaders, President Sean M. Spiller, Vice President Steve Beatty and Secretary-Treasurer Petal Robertson, released this statement following Governor Phil Murphy’s budget speech today:
“Governor. Murphy’s first budget of his second term expands on the commitment he has made to families over the past five years. His budget shows he intends to deliver on his promise to make New Jersey both more affordable and more attractive to the hard-working families who are driving our economic recovery.
“That commitment begins with his unwavering determination to fully fund our public schools, which remain the best in the country. By pledging an additional $650 million in assistance to local school districts, he has ensured that our students will continue to have access to the resources they need to learn and thrive. We also welcome its commitment to invest an additional $430 million in building and renovating schools to ensure our students learn in schools that are safe, healthy, and designed for academic success.
“We thank Governor Murphy for his continued dedication to making higher education more affordable, especially at New Jersey’s many excellent community colleges. By making more families eligible for the Community College Opportunity Grant, Governor Murphy’s budget continues to create pathways to success for New Jersey residents who have too long been excluded from higher education. We continue to urge the state to also increase direct assistance to county colleges, to ensure they can keep tuition low while continuing to create the vibrant educational programs our students need.
“Governor. Murphy’s continued commitment to meeting the state’s pension obligations, which continues in this budget with a second consecutive full pension payment, is already paying huge dividends for all New Jersey residents. New Jersey’s recent credit upgrade, for the first time in a generation, will result in lower borrowing costs and more fiscal resources available for priorities that benefit all state residents. NJEA members that our commitment to our students goes hand in hand with the state’s commitment to delivering on its pension promises.
“Finally, we salute Governor Murphy’s commitment to affordable housing. Affordable housing is stable housing, and few things are more essential to the well-being of our students than a safe home to return to each afternoon. While we take great pride in everything we do inside our school buildings to keep our students safe, healthy and learning, these extra-curricular factors also play a huge role in their success. Affordable housing, access to health care, adequate food and safe communities combine to create the conditions for academic success. This budget demonstrates a commitment to ensuring all of these things for all New Jersey students and families.
“This is a pro-family, pro-student and pro-community budget that will keep our state on the path to a fairer, stronger, fairer and more prosperous future.”