Education Funding

N.J. Considers Charging for Summer School

By The Associated Press — June 15, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The sponsor of a proposal that would allow New Jersey public schools to charge for summer school said cash-strapped districts can’t afford to keep classrooms open without the fee.

Assemblyman Vincent Prieto said half the 12 towns in densely populated Hudson County are likely to offer remedial and enrichment classes this summer if they are permitted to charge parents. He said only one town’s schools — at most — would be open this summer if the bill making its way through the Assembly isn’t signed into law by July.

The bill was released unanimously by the Assembly Education Committee on Monday.

It’s now up to Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to post the bill for a floor vote. The Senate has not yet taken up the bill.

“It’s absolutely necessary. It’s not a thing I would advocate for — to have to pay for school,” said Prieto. “It was the only way to at least have the programs open.”

Gov. Chris Christie’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 calls for $820 million in cuts to school aid, which comes on top of $475 million in cuts to K-12 education in February that were blunted by ordering the schools to use their excess surpluses instead of state aid. The governor has had to cut more than $2 billion from this year’s budget to keep it balanced.

The legislation allows schools to pass on the costs of summer classes to families that can afford it, but requires that the instruction stay free in districts that can afford to offer it for students who are income-eligible for free school lunches. The income threshold qualifying for free lunch is $22,050 for a family of four.

A sliding scale allows schools to bill for partial tuition, based on income.

Prieto, a Democrat from Secaucus in Hudson County, called the bill an emergency and said it would be fast-tracked for approval before the end of the month.

He said he remained concerned that some families won’t be able to afford the roughly $100 to $200 per student that summer school could cost, but said charities and service clubs might be willing to pitch in.

Assemblyman Joe Malone, a Republican who voted for the bill, said the state’s dire fiscal reality necessitated the legislation.

Other states also are grappling with how to maintain summer school programs with less money.

Districts across the country are cutting summer school because it’s just too expensive to keep. The cuts started when the recession began and have worsened, affecting more children and more essential programs that help struggling students.

The Missouri House in April approved legislation reducing the number of summer school classes the state would pay for. And in Hawaii, state school officials last month approved an 18.75 percent hike in summer school fees — to $190 — beginning next year.

Related Tags:

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
What is it About Math? Making Math Figure-Out-Able
Join Pam Harris for an engaging session challenging how we approach math, resulting in real world math that is “figure-out-able” for anyone.
Content provided by hand2mind
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Schools Lost Ground on Funding in Recent Years. The Recovery Could Be Slow
School funding took a hit a few years ago. It might be some time before it recovers.
5 min read
Tight crop of a dollar bill puzzle missing one piece
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Here's How the Feds Are Spending $277M for Academic Recovery
A new round of grants from the Education Department aims to spur innovation in academic recovery, with initiatives in math, reading, and AI.
4 min read
Image of a dollar bill folded into an upward arrow.
ImagePixel/iStock/Getty
Education Funding A Judge Just Ruled That Another State's School Funding System Is Unconstitutional
New Hampshire joins Pennsylvania on the list of states whose courts have ruled that it's underfunding poor school districts.
5 min read
Image of money symbol, books, gavel, and scale of justice.
DigitalVision Vectors
Education Funding This State Would Be the First to Reject Federal K-12 Funds. But It's Far From a Given
Tennessee lawmakers have established a task force to review federal education funding, risking money for low-income schools and special ed.
8 min read
Illustration of Benjamin Franklin on a one hundred dollar bill looking at a calculator that says "recalculating."
Laura Baker/Education Week and hamzaturkkol/iStock/Getty