What are your thoughts on Christie's proposal? It seems like everyone in NJ thinks it's a perfect solution - except the teachers. LOL Personally, I don't see what the big fuss is - take a pay freeze this year and contribute 1-1/2% to your healthcare, which will significantly reduce the 820 million dollar cut to state funding for education. Hell, I haven't had a raise in 2 years, I'm just thankful everyday that I still have a job.
Full story from NJ101.5 :
Full story from NJ101.5 :
Governor Christie has sent a letter to the NJEA and the School Boards Association - calling for public school employees to step up to the plate - and make some financial sacrifices to offset proposed cuts in state aid to education.
During a visit to a Somerset elementary school, Christie said the total amount cut to state funding for education is 820 million dollars and "if in fact teachers and school employees were to take a one year salary freeze and contribute 1 ½ percent to their health benefits, that would generate savings of 800 million dollars to the school districts"
He says the small contribution to health benefits would mean - for the typical teacher "750 dollars for the year - that's literally 2 dollars a day - now, people spend more than that on coffee a day… the teachers union has said oh, the Governor is being too tough on us, and he doesn't want to have a dialogue, OK - here's the letter, I'm asking you to join the shared sacrifice"
Christie also says if the NJEA is unwilling to do this - "if they choose to put their personal interests ahead of the interests of the state, then every one of those laid off teachers - every of those cut programs falls at the feet of the NJEA not at the feet of the governor of New Jersey…their slogan is it's about our children - well if it's about our children… don't worry about it, forgo your raise… forgo your raise like people in the private sector have been doing for the last couple of years - forgo your raise like non-union state employees have done for 4 years."
Later in the day, the NJEA released a statement reacting to the Governor's request.
The President of the Teachers Union Barbara Keshishian is quoted as saying "Governor Christie has called on school employees to voluntarily subsidize school district budgets in order to make up for the cuts he has imposed already this year, and those he intends to impose in next year's budget."
"In New Jersey, school employees' contracts are negotiated locally, and each local association may decide whether or not to reopen its settled contract. However, NJEA members will not be bullied by this governor into paying for his misguided priorities. Despite his preposterous claim that state funding for education has actually increased, the truth is that the governor has slashed more than $1.3 billion from direct aid to local districts through his executive order last month and the budget he proposed earlier this month. Those are his priorities, and he is responsible for their consequences."
"We are dismayed at this Governor's priorities and tactics. He has rejected out of hand the possibility of extending a surtax on the state's wealthiest residents; those individuals making more than $400,000 per year. Under the surtax, they were asked to pay an additional tax on any income over $400,000. That tax amounted to well under 1.5 percent of their total income, but generated enough revenue to fill a large portion of the gap in the governor's education budget."
"Instead, Governor Christie proposes that all school employees in New Jersey contribute 1.5 percent of their far more modest incomes to fill the education funding gap that his priorities have created. The total impact on income is much greater, since they are also asked to forgo a portion of their contractually negotiated salary. This is a wrongheaded attack on the incomes of middle and working-class New Jersey residents. It is wrong to ask the women and men who work in our schools to take a hit to their incomes while he refuses to ask the same of the wealthiest people in the state."
"In his typical fashion, Governor Christie is talking at school employees, not with them. He shared his letter with the media well before he shared it with NJEA. If Governor Christie would ever like to have a genuine discussion, conducted face to face among serious people, rather than through press releases and media stunts, we stand ready to meet with him. But we will not stand by while he attempts to coerce school employees into bearing the full burden of his wrong-headed educational priorities."