Children with special needs have, well, special needs.
for 30 years the state has had a seperate school system for the severely disabled and other children with behavioral issues.
Known as Regional Schools, they currently fall under the purview of the Department of Children and Families. And that, my friends, brings me to this blogpost because Kimberly Ricketts from DCF testified before the Assembly Budget Committee yesterday.
The issue of these regional schools dominated the hearing, which was ostensibly about next year’s budget.
As it turns out, there are 560 students in these 18 regional schools. They are all are scheduled to close just in time for the next school year forcing these students into the care of the local school districts.
Parents of these children are furious. They say the state is doing this hastily without a proper plan. They say school budgets have already been approved, and thses new students are going to cost additional money.
The state counters that it will save $4 million ( which by the way, is not whole heck of a lot in a $30 billion budget ).
Ricketts claims this plan has been in the works for more than ten years, and obviously they will not allow children to slip through the cracks. Everyone will have a place to go.
But it does raise questions about how prepared local districts are to handle an influx of new students who have previously needed a special kind of care.
Let’s hope someone has a plan because if there is one, the parents say “we haven’t heard it.”
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What a circus. At high noon, listeners from NJ 101.5 crowded in front of the State House to hold a mock funeral. The victims? New Jersey’s middle class.
Using an actual hearse to deliver two coffins filled with empty wallets, the ralliers chanted anti-Corzine slogans and sang along to Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit, “We’re not gonna take it.” The idea is that the middle class has been taxed to death and driven from the state. People dressed up in elaborate costumes and used words like “liar.”
Gotta give 101.5 some credit here. for weeks they have been collecting empty wallets to deliver to the Governor’s office. A key component of their public protest was Corzine’s proposal to no longer allow people to write off their property taxes on their income tax bill ( I’m summarizing here, the actual proposal was a bit more complex with strict parameters determining who is eligible ). Anyway, Corzine backed off of that a couple of weeks ago. And if I heard it correctly today, at least one speaker credited 101.5 with making that backpedal happen.
Never underestimate populism. Although it pre-dates me a bit, 101.5 put itself on the map with anti-florio crusades in 1993. Democrat Jim Florio was voted out and Republican Christie Whitman was voted in. Florio will forever be remembered for proposing a tax on toilet paper. Corzine has proposed new liquor and cigarette taxes…but it’s hard to know if those are equal in their ability to incite outrage.
Well, this rally was impressive as a show…although it did not appear to be much more than 300 people.
But once again, 101.5 gets some credit. It was a publicity stunt worthy of the late great PT Barnum.
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