Majority of New Jersey voters reject school district budgets
By Kyle Maichle
TRENTON, New Jersey: With the State of New Jersey dealt with a struggling economy, 59 percent of New Jersey school districts during the annual school election on April 20, 2010 saw their voters reject ballot questions to approve their annual budgets.
This comes after Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie urged all voters to reject their school district's budget if it did not freeze wage increases for teachers, something the New Jersey Education Association has been opposed to. The last time when a majority of school district budgets were rejected in New Jersey was in 1976.
Out of the 537 districts that put school district budgets on the ballot, only 222 of them were approved by the voters. This is in comparison to 2009 when over 71 percent of school district budgets were approved by New Jerseyans. School Districts that had their budgets rejected must have a new budget in place with how they will spend their tax levies by May 19, 2010, the deadline set by law.
In a press conference with reporters on April 21, 2010, Governor Christie said: "Yesterday was a watershed moment for New Jersey. It gives us an opportunity to achieve real fundamental change...Our state, our families, our children cannot afford government at any level that wishes problems away, said Christie. Marie Blik the Executive Director of the New Jersey School Boards Association said: "This has been a year unlike any we’ve seen before... The election results should not be viewed as a rejection of public education or school programs. It's clear that voters were reacting to many concerns, including the poor economy and high property taxes," said the leader of New Jersey's School Boards.
- Reuters, "New Jersey voters approve only 41 percent of school budgets," April 21, 2010
- New Jersey School Boards Association, "Voters Reject Most School Budgets," April 21, 2010
- Office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, "New Jerseyans Demand Change, Reject School Budgets Across the State," April 21, 2010