Good morning! We are Christopher Emigholz, the Chief Government Affairs Officer for the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), and Althea D. Ford, NJBIA’s Vice President of Government Affairs covering education. Thank you, Chairwoman Lampitt and the members of the Assembly Education Committee, for posting A-4496 and to Speaker Coughlin and Chairwoman Lampitt for sponsoring this bill that NJBIA is very happy to support.
NJBIA supports this bill for two reasons: 1.) It will put New Jersey in the best place to get back to efficiently building new schools, which is good for stimulating the economy and creating new jobs. 2.) NJBIA also strongly supports this bill’s inclusion of charter and renaissance schools in the state’s school construction program.
School Construction – Good for Economy:
NJBIA believes that investing in infrastructure and workforce development are two pro-growth spending areas where the state of New Jersey should focus, and school construction does both, compounding the benefits. Building creates jobs and improves our infrastructure for generations, which makes our state more friendly for business, while new schools will improve our workforce development pipeline. A-4496 sets the stage for an efficient system for school construction so that New Jersey can best utilize some of the available funds from recent federal aid and last year’s Debt Prevention and Defeasance Fund that will hopefully go for new schools.
School Choice – Good for Workforce Development:
NJBIA supports the inclusion of charter and renaissance schools in this bill and our state’s school construction program. Providing a broad array of choice to our students to let them determine the best for them to prepare for career and college is appropriate given the diversity of our students and the many career and college pathways they can pursue. Charter and renaissance schools are a critical part of that menu of choices that students and parents should have available to them, whether it is providing alternatives in struggling school districts or providing unique learning opportunities to meet the unique needs of our changing economy today. Strengthening those options will only improve our workforce development pipeline in New Jersey.