Friday, July 8, 2016



July 7, 2016
Press Office

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School Funding Forum In Union County Highlights Planned Increases In Aid

‘Formula4 Success’ Would Boost Support for Every School District In Union County

CRANFORD – Senate President Steve Sweeney joined with legislators, local officials and educators in Union County today for a roundtable discussion on the school funding reform plan that would provide full funding for all school districts in New Jersey, a proposal that would see each of the 21 school districts in the county get a boost in state aid. Hosting the forum were Senator Nick Scutari, Senator Raymond Lesniak, and Assemblyman Jerry Green.

The legislative proposal would bring all the state’s school districts to full funding within five years, correcting the current practice that underfunds 80 percent of New Jersey’s school systems.  

“The current school funding plan had the right intentions but the state has not lived up to its goals,” said Senator Sweeney. “The failure to meet the promise has resulted in wholesale underfunding for school districts throughout New Jersey, including every school system in Union County.”

The legislation S-2372, which would create a special commission to develop a school funding reform plan, has already been approved by the Senate Education committee. The Senate plan would bring all districts to full funding within five years with a boost of $100 million annually. The failure of the state to fund the school formula has shortchanged all types of school districts, including those in suburban, urban and rural districts, Senator Sweeney said.

“We need to close the gap in school aid so that every schoolchild has a fair and equal opportunity for a good education,” said Senator Lesniak. “Full funding is fair funding.”

Under the plan, Elizabeth would receive an additional $65 million, Linden would get $2 million more, Plainfield would be boosted by $20 million and Rahway would see an increase of $4 million.

“This plan is something that can be accomplished in a reasonable timetable,” said Assemblyman Green. “We can make real progress in providing fair funding for equitable education.”

The commission will put the plan into legislation that will have to be approved or rejected in its existing form with up or down votes by the Legislature.

Under the proposed legislation, a four-member “State School Funding Fairness Commission” would be established and given one year to develop a plan that would bring every school district in the state to “adequacy funding” within five years. The Administration would appoint two commissioners and the Senate President and Assembly Speaker would choose one each, according to the bill.

The Union County participants included Mayor Samson Steinman of Rahway, Mayor Christina Dansereau of Roselle, Mayor Derek Armstead of Linden and Mayor Colleen Mahr of Fanwood, Mayor Adrian Mapp of  Plainfield, Mayor Garretson of Hillside and Mayor Paul Mirabelli of Mountainside. Also participating were Superintendent Judith A. Rattner, Berkeley Heights; Superintendent Anna Belin Pyles, Plainfield; Superintendent Pedro Garrido, Roselle Park; Superintendent Margaret Hayes, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, and Superintendent Ross LeBrun, Winfield.

Formula4Success: Access the interactive website with detailed information on the School Funding Reform Plan and its impact on every school district in New Jersey by clicking: here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

$4 Million Expansion of Union County College Set for Plainfield Campus


July 6, 2016, at 5:00 AM

PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Health Sciences Building on the Plainfield Campus of Union County College will be expanding after getting $4 million in New Jersey state funding.
On June 18, State Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks notified UCC along with 34 other state colleges and universities of awards for project requests submitted in January.
The project will include construction of two new computer classrooms and 18 open-access classrooms.

“The expansion of the Health Sciences building is supported by the Union County Freeholders and reflects the vision of the college’s trustees to showcase Plainfield as the college’s center for career and technical education campus," Union County College President Margaret McMenamin said. "Union will continue to grow its presence in Plainfield and become part of the solution in the transformation of the city.”

The $4 million is the second award UCC has received under the 2012 “Building Our Future” bond referendum to support construction in state colleges and universities. The first of these grants funded the $1.4 million construction of two science laboratories in the Lessner Building on the Elizabeth Campus.