The 2018 Securing Our Children’s Future bond referendum – Public Question #1 on the 2018 New Jersey general election ballot – was approved by voters on November 6.
The referendum, which sought approval to issue $500 million in state bonds to expand county vocational-technical and county college career and technical education programs, enhance K-12 school security and repair contaminated school drinking water systems, passed with 52.2% of the total votes cast.
“This will be a game-changer for workforce development in New Jersey and will provide a tremendous boost for our state’s economy,” said Judy Savage, the executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools (NJCCVTS).
“We cannot over-state our gratitude to Senate President Steve Sweeney – who first proposed the bill authorizing the bond act and was its prime sponsor – the other legislative sponsors from both parties and Governor Murphy, who worked together in a tremendous display of bi-partisan commitment to bring this question to the voters,” Savage said.
She also thanked the state’s business, labor and education communities – including the NJ Business & Industry Association, the NJ State Chamber of Commerce, the NJ Building and Construction Trades Council and the NJ Education Association – who worked with the county vocational-technical schools to focus public attention on the need for the referendum.
Savage said the construction and expansion of technical shops and labs “will prepare young people for well-paying careers in today’s highly-technical economy. It will help to address New Jersey’s skills gap, while at the same time meet the growing parent and student demand for career options that can be launched without a four-year college degree.
“While we understand concerns about borrowing, this investment will produce a positive return for our state,” Savage said. “As young people fill long-vacant jobs, launch careers at higher salaries and continue to earn more over their lifetimes, they will pay more in income taxes. And as companies see New Jersey developing a pipeline of skilled workers to meet their needs, they will be more likely to expand or relocate here.”
NJCCVTS president Scott Moffitt, the superintendent of the Morris County Vocational School District, said it is gratifying that the majority of voters recognized the bond referendum as a strategic investment in New Jersey.
“Our county vocational-technical schools can’t wait to get to work on critical expansion projects, and show the voters that they made the right choice on Tuesday,” Moffitt said.
“This is a win for everyone: For young people who want to start careers in key industries like logistics and distribution, manufacturing, health care and construction technology. For companies that need technically-trained employees to help their businesses grow and prosper. And for the state’s economy overall,” Moffitt said. “It is also a win for school districts struggling to deal with expensive security and water system improvements in this era of very tight budgets. “