WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Christie Takes Aim at School Boards
Monday, April 19, 2010
Local school board elections take place in New Jersey tomorrow and this year the governor is paying very close attention.
In the first test of his bully pulpit, Governor Christie is calling on New Jerseyans to vote against any local school budget where the district's teachers have refused to take a one-year pay freeze to avert layoffs. So far, teachers and administrators in just a handful of school districts have signed on to the freeze. The state's School Board Association says more than 90 percent of school districts plan to resort to layoffs to make up for $820 million in cuts to state aid.
Generally, the school board elections and ballot questions attract between 13 and 16 percent of the eligible voters. Last year in more than 73 percent of the school districts, voters passed the budgets. The last time a majority of the local school budgets were defeated was in 1976.