Public Question #1 on the ballot next Tuesday is called “Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act,” a state referendum brought on in part by the spate of horrific schoolyard shootings the nation has endured in recent years.
It calls for a $500 million bond issue meant to bolster school safety and to boost vocational and technical school infrastructure and opportunity for county vocational school districts as well as county colleges. It will also provide grants for school district water infrastructure improvement projects.
Certainly, New Jersey carries a lot of public debt as it is, and we realize we are in a heavily taxed state. Yet school safety is paramount in the minds of all parents and guardians who send their children to school these days. The bond issue would allow for school security grants for projects to be implemented in the state’s K-12 schools.
Increasing vo-tech education infrastructure and opportunity is one goal of the Public Question #1
Quoting from a guest op-ed in support of the bond issue that appeared recently in The Record and NorthJersey.com, the ballot question would also “provide funding to build high-tech shops and labs in fields like manufacturing, logistics and distribution, aviation and drone technology, medical technology, welding, construction, and clean energy.”
Monies for such programs will no doubt help New Jersey students to stay current and maintain an edge over their counterparts in nearby states. As the face of continuing education and post-secondary education continues to change, the state’s education priorities must change with it.
The bond issue also provides funding for grants to directly address the safety of drinking water in the more than 300 New Jersey schools where lead has been discovered in at least one drinking-water outlet. It is no secret that the state’s water infrastructure is in need of a critical upgrade, and it is vitally important in school settings.
It would be easy to vote “no,” on Public Question #1, but we encourage voters to choose “yes.” All three issues in play here are of vital importance for our public schools, and for the students who attend them. We favor a “yes” vote on Question #1.