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9-3 and 4-13 Buono's Education Platform in the News
NJ Spotlight - Buono Begins to Divulge Details of Her Ambitious Education Agenda…But gubernatorial candidate remains vague about finding funds for some of her proposals

Philadelphia Inquirer - Buono vows to boost schools, colleges…Gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono said education would be funded "to the greatest degree possible." Star Ledger - Buono outlines plan for increasing funding for education

Politickernj-State Street Wire - Buono: Millionaire's tax would help fund educational platform; Christie camp cites $3B pricetag

Politickernj - Buono unveils education proposals

NJ Spotlight - Buono Begins to Divulge Details of Her Ambitious Education Agenda…But gubernatorial candidate remains vague about finding funds for some of her proposals.

John Mooney | September 4, 2013

State Sen. Barbara Buono has begun to release details of her education priorities and policies.

The school year is just getting under way, but at least two New Jersey pols are already showing up on college campuses like eager freshmen, ready to deliver their education-centric electioneering.

Democratic gubernatorial challenger Barbara Buono made Rutgers her first stop out of the Labor Day starting gate yesterday, talking up what she called her “comprehensive” education platform for New Jersey.

It's a plan that some critics claim is long on ambition but short on details, especially when it comes to costs.

Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie visited New Jersey Institute of Technology to announce more than $8 million in renovations and projects at the Newark campus -- and not missing an opportunity to take some swipes at Buono and the state Senator’s education plans.

Get used to it: two months and counting to Election Day.

Buono's announcement and press conference were held at the heart of the university’s College Avenue campus on the first day of classes. It dealt, in large part, with providing more funding for state colleges and universities, as well as their students.

The candidate said tuition at state schools has doubled in the past decade, and she laid much of the blame on Christie for his minimal increases -- if not outright cuts in some years – to state funding for schools and financial-aid programs.

Buono is scheduled to be in Trenton today and will focus on K-12 education, filling in more details about her approach to a topic that has dominated much of the political discourse under Christie.

Yesterday at Rutgers and in an interview afterward, Buono said she would take a distinctly different tack than the governor, especially when it comes to school funding. She proposed expanding preschool and making all-day kindergarten universal, and implored the state to fully fund the school finance law.

“The fact of the matter is budget is about priorities, and this is the plan for my first term in office and it will be enacted within fiscal constraints,” she said. “But I will tell you that my budget will reflect middleclass values and not policies that coddle millionaires and those who already have it all.”

But the costs of what Buono proposes would significantly exceed the increased revenues from her "millionaire's tax," and that’s where she was vague about details.

When asked afterward how she would find the $1 billion to fully fund the school finance law, she said it would likely take some time.

“The whole idea of the funding formula was to phase in a lot of those costs, over as much as a 10-year period,” she said.

Buono did provide more substance to her stands on nonfinancial issues.

For instance, she said that while she voted for the state’s new teacher tenure law, she is now having second thoughts about the speed of its implementation and its reliance on student test scores and other performance measures. Many of the same concerns have been raised by the state's two largest teachers unions, both of which have loudly endorsed Buono.

“I did vote for it, but I had grave concerns that it seemed to be the tail wagging the dog without a meaningful evaluation piece already established and tested,” she said. “Unfortunately, I think some of my fears are being realized.”

When asked what measures she would include for student performance, she did not rule out test scores entirely, but she said at a lesser degree than the 35 percent maximum that is planned for the first year by the Christie administration.

“It would have to be a small piece,” she said. “I’d have to do the research on that.”

Buono also said that while she endorses charter schools as a laboratory of school innovation, she asserted that they should not replace traditional public schools, adding that Christie appears poised to do just that.

“Some charter schools perform well, and some don’t,” she said. “They are not a panacea . . . We have gone far afield of the legislation creating charter schools, and the overemphasis on charter schools and draining of funding for traditional schools should be a concern for anyone.”

And on an especially timely issue, Buono said she would not have necessarily seized control of Camden schools -- as Christie has done, starting this fall -- without a clearer exit plan for the state’s school takeovers in general.

“As governor, I would ensure that there is a process in place to make sure these districts have a pathway to come out from under this forced dependency,” she said.

But when asked what she would have done for Camden schools if sitting in Christie’s chair, she hedged.

“I am not sitting in that seat, but let’s just say I am concerned about the track record we have with school takeovers,” she said.

Christie’s campaign shot back at the proposals, and even tried to get ahead of them with a midmorning release of a video from his February budget address where the governor said that state funding for schools has returned to a historic high –- leaving out the $1 billion cut that he made three years ago.

“Barbara Buono has made a career of marching to the beat of special interests, the NJEA most notably -- and that is no clearer than in her being wildly out of step with reform advocates and members of her own party on matters of education and education reform,” said campaign spokesman Kevin Roberts in an email. And while Buono will lay out her plans further today, Christie has put together his own education show and will return to the Shore and the Beach Haven elementary school to play up its reopening after Hurricane Sandy.

 

Philadelphia Inquirer - Buono vows to boost schools, colleges…Gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono said education would be funded "to the greatest degree possible."

Matt Katz, Inquirer Trenton Bureau

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 1:07 AM

NEW BRUNSWICK - As Rutgers University students shuffled past to the first classes of the semester, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono stood at the heart of the state university's central campus Tuesday to offer a broad plan for making education more expansive and affordable.

For K-12 schools, Buono promised to fully fund districts through the long-ignored state formula, give all children full-day kindergarten, restore cuts to before- and after-school programs, expand access to preschool, and spend more to fix dilapidated schools.

For colleges, Buono said she would increase state funding to lower tuition, create tax deductions for parents who save for college, expand scholarships, and allow children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition.

Buono's plan costs a lot of money - following the school-funding formula alone means adding about $1 billion to the state's $33 billion budget. Buono said she would pay for her proposals in part by raising taxes on millionaires.

Asked for more specifics, Buono, a state senator from Middlesex County, said that education would be funded "to the greatest degree possible."

"The fact of the matter is the budget is about priorities," she said. "This is a plan for my first term in office, and it will be enacted within fiscal constraints."

Her opponent, Republican Gov. Christie, often boasts that his current budget means more "state funding" for education than at any time in history. But K-12 schools actually received more money in fiscal year 2010, thanks to $1 billion in federal stimulus funding.

Christie's $820 million cut to schools the following year led to teacher layoffs and the elimination of programs. Funding has ticked up each year since.

This year, he says, most school districts are getting more money than last year - but several are seeing as little as a $1 increase.

Buono slams Christie for his past cuts to education. But if her proposed increase in a tax on high-wage earners is similar to the last "millionaire's" tax proposed by Democrats, it would bring in about $600 million annually, not enough to give schools the money they are owed under the school-funding formula.

Buono, who has been endorsed by the New Jersey Education Association teachers' union, does support one of Christie's signature education issues: tenure reform. In the Senate, she voted for a bill Christie supported to tie teachers' tenure protections to positive evaluations. Her education plan reiterates support for such measures.

On higher education, though, Buono bucked her party's leadership last year to oppose Christie's restructuring of the state's colleges and universities. The plan, often called a "merger," resulted in the dismantling of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, with its pieces spread to other campuses.

Buono said Tuesday that she remained concerned that the costs of the reorganization would be passed on to students. Proponents had said the merger wouldn't cost anything, but they now acknowledge that tens of millions of dollars are needed.

Christie countered Tuesday with a news conference at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, which is embarking on a $86.3 million construction project. The money comes from a $750 million bond referendum, supported by both candidates, that was approved by voters in November.

Christie struck a bipartisan tone, praising the Democratic leaders of the Assembly and Senate for helping with the bond's passage. His campaign also released a 2010 statement from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, now the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, praising Christie for his educational efforts in Newark.

Christie seemed to make a veiled reference to Buono.

"You know you have lots of people who talk the talk about investing in higher education, and everybody understands that a better higher-education institution creates the opportunity for more good-paying jobs," Christie said.

"The more difficult part is making the decision to commit the resources that are necessary to be able to make it happen."

Star Ledger - Buono outlines plan for increasing funding for education

By Matt Friedman, September 3rd 11:42 a.m.

Governor's race: Christie Vs. Buono

·         Buono outlines plan for increasing funding for education

·         N.J. Politics Roundup: Menendez to hold hearings on Syria; campaigns kick into high gear

·         With the unofficial end of summer, N.J. campaigns for U.S. Senate, governor kick into high gear

·         Christie, Buono, Booker visit mainstay Labor Day parade in South Plainfield

·         N.J. campaigns have stars (Christie, Booker) but no pizzazz

NEW BRUNSWICK — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono called for fully funding New Jersey’s schools today in her plan to increase funding for both K-12 and higher education.

Buono’s campaign put out a three-page summary of her plan this morning, which will be followed by a press conference at Rutgers University’s New Brunswick campus that focuses on the state’s public colleges and universities.

In the summary, Buono calls for fully-funding schools according to the state’s school funding formula.

In an essay for the liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective, David Rousseau, the state treasurer under former Gov. Jon Corzine, said fully funding the formula would give schools about $1 billion more. But Rosseau noted that schools have only been funded once, in the 2009 budget.

Buono also called for universal full-day kindergarten, expanding pre-K, increasing funding for before and after school programs, and upping the pace of school maintenance projects.

Most, but not all of New Jersey’s school districts have full-day kindergarten.

On higher education, Buono called for increasing funding for scholarship programs and developing a “fair and consistent way to fund higher education.” Voters last year approved a $750 million bond referendum to fund improvements at the state’s colleges and universities, but it was the first bond issue before voters since 1988.

Buono also called for allowing undocumented immigrants who grew up in New Jersey to pay in-state tuition. A bill to do that (A4225) made some progress in the Assembly earlier this year but was pulled by leaders amid political concerns.

Buono’s plan does not explain how she’d pay for the funding increases.

And some of its planks have few to no details, such as her plan to attract the most qualified educators by using “the power of her office to attract talented and qualified administrators who will support teachers and improve student performance in our public schools.”

 

Politicernj-State Street Wire - Buono: Millionaire's tax would help fund educational platform; Christie camp cites $3B pricetag

By Bill Mooney | September 3rd, 2013 - 12:54pm

NEW BRUNSWICK – After unveiling an extensive and expensive plan for public and higher-education reform today, Sen. Barbara Buono made it clear how she would pay for it if elected governor.

A millionaire’s tax would become a priority if she became governor, Buono said at Rutgers University here after she unveiled her education platform.

“A budget is about priorities,’’ Buono said. “My budget will reflect middle-class values.  It will reorder our priorities.”

Her platform – which includes instituting full-day kingergarten, restoring full funding for after-school programs, more tuition assistance and scholarships – would cost more than $3 billion, according to the campaign office of her opponent, Gov. Chris Christie - but Buono reiterated that her administration would reflect the values of a shared burden.

She said that during the Christie administration, there has been over a 10 percent increase in tuition.  To attend Rutgers today, it costs twice as much as a decade ago, she said.

“That social contract has been broken,’’ she said in reference to the idea that a student could rely on an affordable quality education in order to get a good-paying job that would help the economy grow.

Her running mate, Milly Silva, said “today, a student can’t even imagine the day when their student loan will be repaid.”

In firing back at Buono’s agenda, Christie campaign spokesman Kevin Roberts said that “Barbara Buono has made a career of marching to the beat of special interests, the NJEA most notably – and that is no clearer than in her being wildly out of step with reform advocates and members of her own party on matters of education and education reform.”

In addition, her campaign said that Buono’s proposed education plan “is all spending and zero reform.”



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Politickernj - Buono unveils education proposals

By Bill Mooney | September 3rd, 2013 - 8:53am

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono today released her education plan that includes restoring full funding for public schools, instituting full-day kindergarten, and restoring full funding for before- and after-school programs.

In addition, the platform, which Buono is scheduled to discuss later today at Rutgers University, would include increased investment, tuition assistance and more scholarships for higher education.

“Education is the great equalizer in our democracy, and I believe that every child in New Jersey, regardless of their background or upbringing, must have the opportunity to receive a quality education,” Buono said in a release accompanying her proposal.

“As a mother of six and an alumna of Montclair State and Rutgers Law, I know the cost of higher education is out of reach for too many New Jerseayans,” Buono said. “We should be encouraging our best and brightest students to be chasing their goals at home, instead of leaving New Jersey for lower tuition.”

Her platform also includes more investment in county colleges, increased funding in vocational programs, and Iincrease post-graduation job opportunities by connecting start-up and emerging market businesses with institutions of higher learning.

Other elements of her plan include encouraging students to pursue fields in STEM – science, technology, engineering, math – because she believes New Jersey will need to fill 269,000 such jobs by 2018.

“From preschool through college, we need to make sure that we are providing our young people with the tools they need to thrive in the global economy and the opportunities to stay and become an essential part of New Jersey’s dynamic workforce,” Buono said.

Polls consistently place her far behind Gov. Chris Christie, but one source of support she has had is from some of the labor camps, including public school teachers.


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