From Patch.com: NJ Wants To Spend Another $500M On Schools: Here’s Why

October 29th, 2018

Voters will get to decide whether they want to spend that money or not, some of which will make schools safer. Here’s what it would do.

By Tom Davis, Patch National Staff

There’s a vote on Election Day that’s going to hit home maybe more than any other vote – congessional or otherwise – that day.

Sen. Steven Oroho (R-Sussex) speaks at the news conference in support of the bond referendum at the State House in Trenton

Sen. Steven Oroho (R-Sussex) speaks at the news conference in support of the bond referendum at the State House in Trenton

Voters will decide on the $500 million “Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act” that’s supposed to boost school security, improve water safety and and expand programs at community colleges and vocational schools. The referendum will be held on Election day, Nov. 6.

Though lawmakers haven’t provided specifics on how the money will be spent, they did say the school security portion of the legislation was inspired by the mass shootings in Parkland, Fla. earlier this year.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our schoolchildren,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “The horror of school shootings from Newtown, Ct. in 2012 to Parkland, Fla. makes it clear that we need to do everything we can to make our schools safe, and that includes improving the security of our school buildings.”

Lead also continues to be a problem in some water systems. Newark officials recently kicked off a massive effort to distribute lead water filters to residents after a recent study revealed that corrosion control is “no longer effective” in some parts of the city’s water network. 

Read the whole story on the Moorestown, NJ, Patch.com web site.

The plan’s created debate within the Murphy administration and among lawmakers, many of whom wanted more money…

…The bipartisan legislation, S-2293, originally authorized $1 billion in general obligation bonds to provide grants for vo-tech expansion, school security projects, and school district water infrastructure. The law authorized a public referendum in the upcoming November election.

Murphy’s veto cut the vo-tech school expansion and school security portion from $800 million to $350 million, Bucco said…

…Sen. Steven Oroho, R-Sussex, Warren, Morris, said New Jersey’s county vo-tech schools have been forced to turn away about 17,000 students each year.

“The Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act will give more students the opportunity to access the training they need to succeed in New Jersey’s rapidly-evolving workforce – something our top-quality vo-tech programs are designed to do,” Oroho said.

Oroho said the money will allow county vocational-technical school districts and county colleges to upgrade facilities to meet the needs of technical education programs as well as improved school security and updated school water infrastructure.

“While I would have preferred the original legislation as passed by the Legislature, I believe the ballot question still represents a solid investment in our children’s future and I am confident the voters will view it that way,” Oroho concluded.

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