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12-1-16 Education in the News

NJ Spotlight--Pension Leaders Question if NJ Should Do More to Shore Up System

Amid efforts by lawmakers to improve the funding of the public-employee pension system, there are calls for more aggressive action

New Jersey has the nation’s worst-funded public-employee pension system, and in a bid to help put it on a firmer footing, state lawmakers last week overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill that calls on the state to begin making pension contributions on a quarterly basis. But the leaders of the board that oversees investment policy for the pension system are divided on whether lawmakers should be going even further to address the state’s pension-funding problem.

Tom Byrne, chairman of the New Jersey State Investment Council, said yesterday that he supports the legislative proposal advanced by lawmakers that would see the state shift to a schedule that would break the pension contribution up into quarterly installments instead of just a single year-end deposit.


John Reitmeyer | December 1, 2016


Star Ledger--N.J. wins $17.5M grant to continue adding pre-K seats

TRENTON -- The federal government will give New Jersey another $17.5 million to continue a preschool expansion program that has already added pre-K seats and improved programs in 17 communities, education officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Secretary of Education John King announced New Jersey is one of 18 states that will receive more than $247.4 million to continue the Preschool Development Grant program for a third year.

New Jersey's $17.5 million will be used to continue adding preschool seats for 4 year olds across the state.

"High-quality early education gives children the strong start they need to succeed in kindergarten," King said. "The Obama Administration has made great progress in providing access to high-quality early learning, but we must do more. All of our children -- regardless of socioeconomic status, race, language spoken at home, disability or zip code -- deserve the kind of high-quality early learning opportunities that will prepare them to thrive in school and beyond."


Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| November 30, 2016 at 1:39 PM, updated November 30, 2016 at 3:05 PM


Christie signs bill letting armed, retired cops provide security in N.J. schools

TRENTON -- Specially trained retired police officers may be hired to provide security for public and private schools and community colleges in New Jersey under a bill Gov. Chris Christie signed into law Wednesday.

The governor conditionally vetoed an earlier version of the legislation two months ago because it did not require these "special law enforcement officers" to undergo "specialized training covering security issues that routinely arise in the school setting."

Special training is needed before retired armed officers can be deployed in Garden State schools, the governor said Tuesday.

"It is vital to ensure that the officer in integrated into the unique setting of a school community and is properly trained to function not only as a safety expert and law enforcer, but also as a liaison to community resources, educators and counselors," Christie said in that conditional veto message.

The bill's sponsors made the changes Christie sought. The bill (S86) was approved by the state Senate in October and by the Assembly on Nov. 21.

"Having trained, experienced officers in schools creates a safer environment for students and staff by deterring criminals from committing acts of violence," state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) said, one of the bill's sponsors. "I'm happy we could work together on this issue and make our schools safer for everyone."


Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| November 30, 2016 at 12:03 PM, updated December 01, 2016 at 2:15 AM