Should New Jersey's local public school students be treated like second class citizens? 

This Monday, January 13th, the New Jersey legislature may approve legislation that does just that.

Assembly Bill 3421/Senate Bill 3043 would require public school districts to allow students attending charter or county vocational schools, or being home schooled, to play on the local public school sports teams, if the charter and county vocational schools do not offer those sports.

However, local public school students would not be allowed to play sports on charter or county vocational school teams.  Why should local public school students have fewer rights than charter or county vocational school students?

This legislation also does not require charter or county vocational schools or their parents to contribute to the cost of their students participating in the local public school  sports programs, even though local public schools are dealing with severe, multi-year funding cuts from the State

What's next?  Will the New Jersey legislature require local public schools to open their music, theater, and art programs to such one-directional, unfunded mandates? 

Charter schools and county vocational schools are taxpayer funded. In fact, vocational schools are among New Jersey's highest funded school districts (http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/13/10/20/the-list-which-nj-school-districts-spend-the-most-money-per-student/). Public school districts also pay to transport students to charter and county vocational schools, at significant cost. Why must local public school districts be forced to bear the cost of these schools’ sports programs as well?

All children should have access to sports, art, music and theater, but treating local public school students like second class citizens and requiring local public schools to bear the entire cost is not the way to accomplish that objective

Monday is our last chance to stop this unfair, unfunded mandate.

Here are 3 things that you can do:

1.  Call Senate Budget Committee Chair Paul Sarlo, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver any time between now and 11 am on Monday and ask them not to post this bill for a vote.

You can leave a message on their answering machines with your name and home town and a very brief explanation as to why you oppose this legislation.  If their machines are full when you call, please try again on Monday, between 8:30 and 11 am. 

  • Senator Paul Sarlo (201) 804-8118 
  • Senator Steve Sweeney (609) 847-3700 or (856) 251-9801 
  • Speaker Sheila Oliver (609) 847-3500 or (973) 395-1166

2.  Attend the Senate Budget Committee hearing on this legislation, which will begin at noon, on Monday, January 13th, in Committee Room 4, on the first floor of the State House Annex, at 125 West State Street in Trenton.

Having parents and other public education supporters testify as to why they oppose this legislation is the most powerful way to stop this bill.  If you can attend the Senate Budget Committee, please let us know at info@saveourschoolsnj.org

3.  Let your legislators know that you oppose this bill by filling out and submitting the information below.

If this legislation is approved by the Senate Budget Committee on Monday afternoon, it will be voted on by the full Senate and Assembly, later on Monday.  If it is approved by both chambers, we will not be able to stop this unfair and unfunded mandate from becoming the law.

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