The 2016-2017 state budget approved by Governor Chris Christie includes $ 1 million for county vocational-technical school innovation grants and $503,000 to support Cumberland County Technical Education Center’s transition to a new four-year, full-time high school.
The Governor used his line item veto power to remove and reduce about $300 million in state spending proposals in the budget approved by the Legislature, including $4 million for adult career and technical education programs and $2 million of the $3 million proposed for the county vocational-technical school grant programs.
In addition, the Governor signed an Executive Order that placed all of the Legislative priorities retained in the budget into reserve, pending resolution of his proposal to generate $250 million in health care savings.
“While the county vocational-technical schools community is extremely disappointed about the loss of the adult program funding and the reduced funding level for the successful partnership grant program, we acknowledge that these actions align with the Governor’s efforts to reduce spending throughout state government,” said Judy Savage, the executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools (NJCCVTS).
The adult education funds would have been used for programs that help out-of-school young people and adults get the training and credentials they need to enter the workforce or advance their careers. The elimination of funding provided in 2015-2016 will stall program expansion and improvements.
The county vocational-technical school partnership grant program, approved by the Governor and the Legislature in 2014, has been funded by $3 million appropriations in each of the past two budgets. These incentive grants support innovative new career and technical education programs established in partnership with colleges, local high schools in businesses in areas such as engineering, information technology, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology and culinary arts.
When the freeze is lifted, the reduced spending provided in the new budget will be used to spur creation of a smaller number of new career and technical education programs in the 2017-18 school year.
The funding allocated for Cumberland County Technical Education Center will support the district’s transition from a shared-time county vocational technical school to full-time. The new career and technical high school, under construction adjacent to Cumberland County College, will open in September, adding 200 new freshmen each year and a full range of academic and technical programs.
“We are very grateful to Speaker Prieto, Senator Sweeney and many other legislators who support career and technical education as a key economic and educational strategy to ensure our state’s continued growth and competitiveness for including funding for county vocational-technical schools this year,” said Timothy McCorkell, the president of NJCCVTS and the superintendent of the Monmouth County Vocational School District.
“We will continue to work with the Legislature and the administration to secure essential funding for career and technical education programs throughout the state,” he said.